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Vietnam raises minimum wage 12.4%

10 September, 2015IndustriALL Global Union welcomes the latest minimum wage increase by Vietnam’s National Wage Council. Coming into effect on 1 January 2016 the 12.4 per cent raise continues the country’s road to a living wage.

At today’s exchange rate, the new monthly minimum wage will be VND 3.5 million (Vietnamese Dong) or US$ 155 in the most developed areas of Vietnam.

An inclusive tripartite consultation process, informed by research, through the National Wage Council already resulted in a 15 per cent increase from the beginning of 2015.

That 2015 increase meant the minimum wage has already increased 17-fold in 15 years.

Four different rates exist so that workers in the most developed areas currently earn a minimum monthly rate of VND 3.1 million, and workers in the least developed Region Four earning VND 2.15 million. These rates will now all go up by 12.4 per cent.

The Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), to which all three IndustriALL affiliates are members, argues that overall the minimum wage still falls short of workers’ basic needs. The VGCL had initially proposed a rise of 16.8 per cent this time. At the first stage of consultations the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) insisted on the raise being no more than 10 per cent.

The plan will now move to central government for approval.

IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Jyrki Raina marked the positive development:

“Every working person has the right to a living wage, from the garment worker in Vietnam to the miner in Namibia. We believe in building union power and bargaining for better wages. Campaigning for increased minimum wages is a central mission of IndustriALL.

In our meeting earlier this year in Vietnam I praised the Vietnamese government for setting a good example to other countries in the region. Raised minimum wages means boosted purchasing power, economic growth and creation of new jobs.

Now it is time for the government to ratify ILO Conventions 87, 98 and 105 and properly enshrine worker protections in the law.

At today’s exchange rates here are some key minimum wage figures from South and South East Asia, in US Dollars:

Bangladesh68 (Garment sector)
Myanmar85 (108,000 Myanmar Kyats)
Vietnam155 (as of 1 January 2016)
China314 (Shenzhen and Shanghai)