Question 144: What should the Employer do to encourage Employees to join the grassroots trade union?

The grassroots trade union acts as the representative to protect lawful rights and interests of its trade union members and Employees; participates, negotiates, signs and monitors the execution of the CLA, salary scale and table, labour norms, regulations on payment of salary and bonus, IRLs, democratic regulations in the enterprise, agency or organisation; participates in support for labour dispute resolution; dialogue and cooperation with the Employer to build a harmonious, stable and progressive labour relationship in the enterprise, agency or organisation[1].

However, some Employees now do not want to join the trade union because they do not see the important benefits that a trade union member is entitled to. It may be because the grassroots trade union is not strong, mostly takes the Employer’s side as its executive board members are paid directly by the Employer, and does not faithfully protect the Employee’s rights and interests; the grassroots trade union is not active or its activities are largely symbolic with no realistic goals, not helpful for Employees; the trade union is too separate from the collective of Employees, does not have mutual connections or understandings etc. Therefore, Employees think that joining the grassroots trade union is just a loss of time and money, which discourages them from joining the union.

To encourage Employees to join the trade union, the Employer and the grassroots TUEC need to make them aware of the benefits that a trade union member is entitled to, and the trade union itself must devise effective work plans which are helpful for the members in particular and the Employees in general. Specifically as follows:

1.Rights and interests which a trade union member is entitled to

The Employer and the grassroots TUEC need to make Employees aware of the rights and interests that a trade union member is entitled to:

1.1. The Employee will have a more important role in the enterprise

After becoming a trade union member, the Employee will have very important rights, such as[2]:

  • Participate in the formulation of, contribute ideas to, approve or disapprove internal regulations which influence the rights and interests of Employees (such as ILRs, CLA, bonus regulations, salary scale and table); and
  • Provide opinions, participate in the organising and leading of strikes at the enterprise

1.2. Employees will be protected by the trade union if their legitimate rights and interests are violated

When the Employees’ legitimate rights and interests are violated, the trade union will support and advise them on the issue, provide free of charge assistance with issues related to the labour law and trade union, and represent them in lawsuits about labour disputes.

1.3. Employees will get mental and material support from the grassroots trade union

Every month, the grassroots trade union retains 68% of the trade union expenditure contributed by the Employer, 60% of the trade union fees contributed by trade union members and 100% other collections to develop the activities of the grassroots trade union and Employees in the enterprise[3]. After becoming trade union members, Employees will be supported with expenditure in cultural, sport, and tourist activities, especially in the protection of legitimate rights and interests of trade union members.

1.4. The grassroots trade union creates the balance of interest and position between the Employer and Employees

The Employees’ participation in the trade union means that they will be in a collective struggle for a greater interest for every Employee. If each of them struggles for the individual interest, the Employee will be at a disadvantage before the Employer. This is a global trend and especially popular in developed countries.

Therefore, the Employer and the grassroots TUEC need to make Employees aware that they should join the trade union as it will be beneficial to them.

2. The grassroots trade union needs to devise effective and realistic work plans

The grassroots trade union must fulfil its role as an organisation representing and protecting the best interests of its members in particular and of all Employees in general in the enterprise’s dialogues, and help build the CLA. The grassroots trade union can propose regulations which are more beneficial to Employees who are trade union members. The grassroots trade union also needs to have realistic and helpful activities and movements, such as visiting Employees when they are ill, supporting trade union members when they are in hardship, holding helpful entertainment activities. As a result, Employees will trust and understand that the participation in the trade union is not a time-consuming and meaningless thing, but brings about mental and material benefits, and is a place to turn to when they are in trouble.

[1]Article 188.1 Labor Code

[2]Article 188.1 Labor Code

[3]Article 21.1 Decision 1908/QĐ-TLĐ dated 19/12/2016 and Part III.1.b Resolution 07b/NQ-TLĐ dated 21/01/2016