Industrial Disputes in Vietnam: The Tale of the Wildcat

TitleIndustrial Disputes in Vietnam: The Tale of the Wildcat
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsVan Gramberg, Bernadine, Teicher, Julian, and Nguyen, Tien
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Human Resources
Volume51
Issue2
Pagination248 - 268
Keywordslabor rights, unions, Vietnam, Vietnam Labor Code, Vietnam labor relations, wildcat strikes, working conditions
Abstract

Vietnam has experienced a combination of sustained high economic growth and high inflation over the last ten years. This has been a ‘double-edged sword’ for the country as rapid price rises have also fuelled the growth in labour conflicts and strikes, which have the potential to negatively affect Vietnam's continuing economic growth. Added to this potent mix is the increasing evidence that some employers' strict use of managerial prerogative combined with poor working conditions and harsh treatment of employees have precipitated the growth of ‘wildcat’ strikes particularly in the country's growing export-oriented private sector. In the absence of publicly available statistics on industrial action in Vietnam, this paper draws on an analysis of strikes reported in the nation's key newspapers and three elite interviews to explore the types of disputes and their causes as well as the industries most affected. We find that in order to improve the management of workplace conflict, reform to the Labour Code alone is insufficient. There is also a need to train all parties in dispute resolution and to ensure that unions are independent of management.