Government listens to workers’ aspiration to amend the new social insurance law: Symbol of respecting democracy

12/04/2015


For last week, we have witnessed the strike of tens of thousands of workers at Pou Yuen Vietnam Co. Ltd., a Taiwanese-invested maker of sport shoes and garments for export in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City and some others in protest against Article 60 of the 2014 social insurance law with effect from next year, which enforces pension plans that provide a payment of a set amount every month from the retirement date through the rest of workers’ life if they have paid social insurance for a total of 15 years or longer.
 Quick respond to that, Vietnamese authorities have held meetings to listen workers’ aspirations. And after the government’s monthly meeting on Wednesday 1st April, Prime Minister Dung and his cabinet considered the proposals of ministries and other relevant agencies. Then, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has decided that the government will propose the law-making National Assembly amend a new rule in the 2014 Law on Social Insurance in order to allow employees to take lump-sum social insurance payments when they leave a company, instead of waiting until they reach the age of retirement.
 To get a full view of the situation, let us review some following matters. First is about Article 60 of the Law on Social Insurance which was passed by the National Assembly in November last year and will take effect starting at the beginning of 2016. Under the new law, a worker who hasn’t contributed to the pension program for 20 years wouldn’t be eligible for a lump sum or monthly pension benefits. Workers who have contributed for 20 years could choose to take a lump sum, or stay in the pension program, receiving a larger monthly payment reflecting additional years of money into the system. Workers who have to stop working over health issues before contributing to the pension program for 20 years could still get a lump sum.
The government said the benefits restriction is needed to ensure people are protected in their retirement years, armed with monthly pensions rather than potentially facing old age after having spent their earlier-received lump-sum payment. According to the government’s resource the rule is aimed at meeting "long-run social security objectives for the sake of laborers", said news portal Tuoi Tre (Youth).
“The workers went on strike because they don’t fully understand the new insurance law,” Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Doan Mau Diep said in a statement. “The new law has a positive impact on the benefits of workers, encouraging them to accumulate their participation time so that they will be eligible for retirement pension when they get old.”
We all can see that the purposes of the new regulations are good and humane for workers’ interests, but there’s still problem in implementing. Why do workers protest against it?
The workers do not agree with these new regulations. Specifically, workers must wait until retirement age to be eligible to receive social insurance benefits instead of after retiring from their job like before. That means only a limited number of people are entitled to such lump-sum payment while the other resigned employees must wait until they reach their retirement age to get or receive such lump sums. The workers will just get a social insurance monthly allowance when they retire instead of getting a one-time payment if they resign. The workers said that if they quit, they would have to wait until their retirement age — 60 for men and 55 for women — to get the allowance, they can’t always find replacement jobs quickly and need the lump sum to pay for their living expenses needs while seeking new jobs.
Some other said they may quit their current job and start business on their own in the future, so they want to get such lump sums upon resignation as capital for their new career. Most strikers requested that the law give them the right to decide on either taking a lump-sum social insurance allowance or accumulating their periods of payment of social insurance in order to receive a pension when they retire.
To deal with the situation, representatives of the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and the city government held a dialogue with workers of PouYuen Vietnam.
Dang Ngoc Tung, chairman of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, said that he understood workers’ concern about their legitimate rights and benefits. The confederation will listen to them and send their proposals to authorities, he noted.
“I believe the government should petition the National Assembly to edit Article 60 so that workers can actively choose a policy based on realistic circumstances,” commented Mr. Bui Si Loi, Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Social Affairs of the National Assembly.
At a press briefing after the government’s meeting, Nguyen Van Nen, Minister-Chairman of the Government Office, told Tuoi Tre newspaper that the government considers Pou Yuen workers’ request legitimate. Therefore, the government will ask the National Assembly to revise Article 60 to allow employees to either take lump-sum social insurance allowances upon resignation or accumulating their periods of payment of social insurance so as to receive a pension, Minister Nen said.
“From now until December 31, 2015, no changes will be made to all regulations related to social insurance payment. On May 20, the government will convene a meeting and make a proposal to the National Assembly regarding this matter,” he said.
The government will ask the National Assembly to amend the law that would allow laborers to get their retirement payouts at one time or when they retire, if they choose so.
Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper cited a source from Pou Yuen workers as saying that striking workers have resumed work since April 2, a week after the strike broke out on March 26.
Bich Thao, who has worked for Pou Yuen for three years, was quoted by Lao Dong as saying that all workers were very happy to know, through the company’s loudspeaker, that the government has agreed to propose amending Article 60 so that they can take lump-sum social insurance allowance payments.
So, in conclusion, this is a precious lesson for law makers, they should listen to people’s opinions before issuing any regulations. But there’s a positive signal that the government has quickly considered workers’ hope showing our government’s respect of democracy and human rights. We find that the government’s move, which is based on workers’ legitimate request, is reasonable and suitable for current conditions. On this basis, we call on all striking workers to set their mind at rest and resume work. Workers should be calm and should not follow any provocation or instigation of hostile forces and bad elements to do anything that goes against their legitimate interests./.
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All comments [ 12 ]


Quốc Cường 12/4/15 21:14

I think changes to the law to make it "suitable to the situation" and meet the workers' demand.

Phạm Hiếu 12/4/15 21:15

All social insurance policies are kept unchanged in line with the existing law on social insurance towards the year-end.

Hoàng Lân 12/4/15 21:17

That's totally right anf reasonable!

Quốc Kiên 12/4/15 21:18

With its low wages and young workforce, Vietnam has become a manufacturing hub in the region, producing consumer goods and electronics for multinationals.

Vân Nhàn 12/4/15 21:20

The Party and State respect workers's rights and opinions, that shows democracy of our political system.

Huy Lâm 12/4/15 21:22

We call on the strikers to return to work and not to allow "bad elements" to take advantage of the situation to stir up unrest that would affect security, order and the company's operations.

Huy Quốc 12/4/15 21:24

It is an experience for our authorities in social management.

Hùng Quân 12/4/15 21:26

The strike was the first large demonstration in Vietnam since deadly protests in several parts of the country last May over the deployment of a Chinese oil rig in our EEZ.

Lê Tín 12/4/15 21:28

No government doesn't make mistake, so we should see its positive side that our government has listened to workers' voice.

Quân Hoàng 12/4/15 21:30

Be aware of distorted allegations of hostile forces to incite political unrest in our country.

Trần Bướng 16/4/15 23:56

all rules and laws need to be widely carefully discussed before isueing

Tứ Long 17/4/15 00:03

anyway appreciate that Goverment listen to people's opinion

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