GRASSROOTS TRADE UNION – THE EMPLOYEES’ VOICE
As of September 10, 2015, VNHR has held a seminar on “The role and tasks of the grassroots trade union in its corporate activities” led by Lawyer Tran Van Tri (FUJILAW Law Firm). This is a topic in the special spotlight of the corporate community in general and the human resources in particular, including nearly 60 attending managers.
The advent of the grassroots trade union aims to protect the interests of and represent the employees during their employment in the enterprises. At the seminar, Lawyer Tri has added and expanded the knowledge about the role and establishment of the grassroots trade union therein. Enterprises may consult with the grassroots trade union but their employee related decision shall not be necessarily adopted by it before conducting such decision. There exists an abundance in different ideas surrounding the arising issues among ununionized enterprises. Thereby, the representative offices are not eligible to establish their own grassroots trade unions due to their lack of legal entity status (as prescribed by Section 12.1.a, Chapter III of the Guidelines on implementing the Union Charter No. 238/HD-TLĐ dated 4 March 2014 by Vietnam General Confederation of Labour) or shall coordinate with other offices in protecting their rights under the support of the immediate superior labour federation. Nonetheless, there are still grassroots trade unions established at the Representative Offices – this actual difference as opposed to provided for should be made clearer by Vietnam General Confederation of Labour. In addition to representing employees, workers, the grassroots trade union plays such other roles as carrying out the regimes and policies related to employees, building and implementing new management mechanisms. Lawyer Tri confided: “The fact that the local trade union interferes with the applicable provisions is a common phenomenon in multinational companies because they want to exercise uniform human resources policy in their entire system. The problem arises in that there are a lot of their internal regulations in noncompliance with or contravention of the Vietnamese laws. Therefore, through the constructive comments of the local trade union, such policy shall be amended and only applies when it suits the Vietnamese law”.
In terms of trade union fund, Lawyer said each union members needs to contribute only 1% of the salary as a basis for paying social insurance and the company shall pay 2% of the total payroll. Mr. Nguyen Thanh Hai, who had over 10 years of working experience in the trade union of Water Technology American Standard Vietnam, said the trade union fund in his company is used in organizing collective activities as well as rewarding individuals with good performance. Lawyer Tri stressed that remuneration and bonus policies shall comply with the corporate regulations. Concurrently, the local trade union should disclose specific figures on trade union expenditure and other revenues.
When discussing the grassroots trade unions, Lawyers Tri appreciated their application of democracy in resolving conflicting issues. Above all, the trade union executive committee should have a member focused on monitoring all activities and organizing trade union. Besides, in order to increase the link between union members with trade union, a dialogue conference should be periodically held for employees depending on the different scale motto of each enterprise.
In addition, employees are eligible to authorize the local trade union to resolve any dispute with the employer when their rights and interests can not be guaranteed. Therefore, the local trade union is obliged to propose protection policies as well as give legal advice on behalf of employees whether individual or collective. The seminar also receives the support and advice by Lawyer Nguyen Huu Phuoc (Phuoc & Partners Law Firm) and Lawyer Le Hoang Chuong (Le & Tran Law Firm) whenever problems surrounding this issue arise.