Building a strong working class and contributing to national construction and defence

Today, September 24, in Hanoi, more than 10 million trade union members and workers across the country are welcoming the great festival of the working class: the 12th congress of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL). It is an important political event for the working class, opening a new phase of development for trade unions at all levels.

Illustrative image (Photo: VOV)
Illustrative image (Photo: VOV)

Over recent years, Resolution No.20 of the 10th Party Central Committee (PCC) on continuing to build the Vietnamese working class in the period of national industrialisation and modernisation, together with the resolutions adopted at the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh meetings of the 12th PCC, have laid out many guidelines and viewpoints of the Party on the development of the country, the building of the political system and the care for the working class of Vietnam. Decision No.655/QD-TTg by the Prime Minister on approving the project on investing in trade union institutions in industrial and export processing zones on May 12, 2017, demonstrated the Party and Government’s attention to the living condition of workers and employees.

After ten years of implementation of Resolution No.6 of the 10th PCC on continuing to build the Vietnamese working class in the period of national industrialisation and modernisation and five years of implementation of the Trade Union Law (2012), the VGCL has made many positive changes. Trade unions at all levels continue to reform in terms of content and mode of operation and have basically fulfilled the tasks set by the 11th Congress of the VGCL. The most important point in the last term is the caring activities and the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of union members and employees. The trade union has actively participated in developing policies and laws related to employees. Many policies and guidelines of the Party and State on building the working class and trade unions have been concretised. Trade unions have played an important role in implementing the conclusion of the Secretariat on strengthening the leadership and direction of building a harmonious, stable and progressive labour relationship. As a result, the role of trade unions in building positive labour relations in enterprises continues to be affirmed, contributing to creating a favourable environment for production and business, as well as maintaining security, order and social safety. Thanks to union activities, the movement of patriotic emulation among workers, civil servants and employees has made positive changes, significantly contributing to socio-economic development. These achievements are attributed to the direct, comprehensive and frequent leadership of the Party, the coordination of the State, the Vietnam Fatherland Front, socio-political organisations and the business community, as well as the dynamic spirit, creativity and responsibility of the trade union staff, the efforts of many union members and employees and the results of the renewal process of content and mode of operation of trade unions.

However, trade union activities have not developed in a synchronous manner and have not brought into full play their strengths as a representative organisation to care for and protect the legitimate rights and interests of its members and employees. The organisational structure and tasks of trade unions are still overlapping and putting pressure on grassroots unions. The capacity and competence of the trade union staff and the ability to adapt to the new situation in many places remain weak. Some of the social activities of the trade union movement are not effective. The living condition of workers in many places is still difficult, while the minimum wage has not met the minimum needs of workers and their families.

In the near future, the global situation will continue to witness many complicated and unpredictable developments, but peace, cooperation and development is still a big trend. The fourth industrial revolution will have a profound impact on the production and life of workers and employees. In Vietnam, the socio-economic situation is forecast to have positive growth. However, there will also be many difficulties and challenges, especially the risk of high inflation due to fluctuations in prices of energy and commodities, as well as complicated and unpredictable changes and increasingly intense competition under the strong impact of the fourth industrial revolution. Therefore, it is required that the Vietnamese trade unions focus on renewing their organisation and operations, enhancing their representative capacity, protecting the rights and interests of employees and actively building the working class. The Resolution of the 12th National Party Congress defined that it is necessary to pay attention to educating, training and fostering and developing the working class in terms of both quantity and quality; improve the political will, education, professional skills, industrial skills and labour discipline of workers, ensure employment, raise incomes, improve working conditions, housing and welfare facilities for workers, amend and supplement policies and laws on salary, social insurance, health insurance, unemployment insurance, etc., in order to protect the interests and raise the material and spiritual life of workers. In order to successfully achieve the above objectives, in the future, the VGCL should focus on leading and directing the implementation of three breakthroughs: renewing its mode of operation, caring for members' interests, building a strong and qualified contingent of trade union officials, especially the staff in the non-state sector and promoting the communication work of trade unions.

Under the theme “Renewal, democracy, solidarity and responsibility”, the 12th congress of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour confirms the determination of trade unions at all levels in taking advantage of opportunities and overcoming difficulties and challenges to actively and professionally renew the organisation and operation of the Trade Union, and create new development steps in the period of industrialisation and modernisation and international integration, bringing many practical benefits for trade union members. Meanwhile, it also clearly defines the role as a representative organisation to protect the legitimate rights and interests of workers, build sustainable labour relations, and promote the important role of workers and civil servants in the construction and defence of the Fatherland, contributing to realising the goal of developing Vietnam into a powerful country with wealthy people living in an equal, democratic, and civilised society.