[Bài nghiên cứu] The missing link in the chain? Trade Regimes and Labour Standards in the Garments, Footwear and Electronics Supply Chains in Vietnam

Trung tâm Nghiên cứu Quốc tế (SCIS) giới thiệu bài nghiên cứu của TS. Đỗ Quỳnh Chi về các thể chế thương mại và quy chuẩn lao động trong ngành công nghiệp may mặc, giày dép và điện tử trong các chuỗi giá trị tại Việt Nam, là phiên bản đầy đủ của báo cáo tóm tắt "Dự án CLS+ tại Việt Nam". Bài nghiên cứu được thực hiện trong khuôn khổ tọa đàm "Việc làm bền vững trong chuỗi cung ứng toàn cầu - Vai trò của các chính sách công nghiệp, phương thức mua sắm và chính sách thương mại" được tổ chức vào ngày 17/1/2017.

 


 

 

  

Introduction 


In Asia, countries with export-oriented industries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam ride on the coattails of cheap labour costs and a growing workforce to ensure participation in the new global trade regimes where traditional forms of protectionism to develop domestic industries (as used by their Asian peers like South Korea and Taiwan) are no longer possible as a development trajectory. Preferential trade access and trade agreements are especially conducive to the growth of these global supply chains (GSCs), since 80 per cent of world trade now takes place through GSCs (UNCTAD 2013). However, trade liberalisation and trade agreements in their current form have unleashed hyper-competitive pressure in products such as ready-made garments, footwear and consumer electronics. And social clauses linked to trade have provided little protection for workers on core labour standards, let alone safety, fair wages or social protection. The power imbalance between the multinational corporations at the top of GSCs and their suppliers below allows multinational corporations (MNCs) to impose low production prices that contribute to low wages, low profits and unsafe working conditions like dilapidated buildings. In the textiles and garment sector, there is empirical evidence for the period 1989 – 2014 of a relationship between the declining respect for workers’ rights and a decline in the price paid for RMG imported by international brands into the United States (Anner 2015). The race to the bottom is not a slogan but an economic reality.


The “monopsony” in GSCs, characterised by monopoly power structures of a few international retailers vs. the suppliers competing for contracts with the large brands leads to asymmetric trade relationships. Pricing and sourcing dynamics exert pressure on the second- and third- tier suppliers that are “sandwiched” between noncompliance with both international and national labour, safety and environmental standards and complying with the orders of the international brands on time. This becomes worse where trade union representation and sector-wide collective bargaining schemes are weak and preference is given to voluntary schemes. As a result of this lack of effective models of industrial bargaining, wildcat strikes become more predominant as shown in Vietnam or China.


Core Labour Standards Plus (CLS Plus) is a regional project coordinated and implemented by Friedrich-EbertStiftung (FES) that aims at promoting the implementation of comprehensive labour and social standards, including but also beyond the Core Labour Standards (CLS), in export-oriented industries in Asia in the framework of trade agreements and preference systems. Therefore, the project also refers to labour rights (plus elements of CLS Plus) in addition to CLS: The concept of living wages, OSH standards, the limitation of hours at work, the protection of migrant workers and adequate systems of social protection. The increase of real wages and living costs for the workers demand for a commensurate rate of productivity increase and a higher share of value adding created in GSCs in developing countries. Core instruments to develop such a tool are country studies to analyse the patterns of GSCs in selected countries and the related labour conditions (using the framework of related ILO conventions) and identify possible linkages to existing trade and preferential agreements that give leverage to the promotion of CLS Plus.


Within the framework of the CLS Plus project, the country study for Vietnam, coordinated by the FES Office in Vietnam and conducted by the research team from the Research Center for Employment Relations (ERC), explores the labour standards in the GSC of three key exporting industries of Vietnam: garments, footwear and electronics, within the context of the industrial and labour relations systems of the country. The outcome of the Vietnam country study is expected to inform the policy-makers and practitioners in Vietnam about the current and upcoming challenges in labour rights in the context of Vietnam’s deeper integration into international trade through the EVFTA. At the same time, the Vietnam country study together with the studies from Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan will provide a comprehensive and independent report to policy-makers at the European and international levels. 


Xem bài viết đầy đủ tại đây.

Báo cáo tóm tắt Dự án CLS+ tại Việt Nam. 

Thông tin tọa đàm "Việc làm bền vững trong chuỗi cung ứng toàn cầu - Vai trò của chính sách công nghiệp, phương thức mua sắm và chính sách thương mại". 

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