Official visit

ILO Director-General calls for balance between economic growth and decent employment on his first official visit to Viet Nam

During his two-day trip, International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo, held talks with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, senior Vietnamese officials, government ministers and workers’ and employers’ representatives on issues including advancing social justice and promoting decent work.

Press release | Hanoi, Viet Nam | 30 June 2023
ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo meets with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. © ILO
HANOI (ILO News) - The Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Gilbert F. Houngbo, has concluded his first official visit to Viet Nam, during which he praised Viet Nam for successful economic development while calling for greater focus on the creation of decent jobs and protection of workers’ rights.  

During his stay, between 29–30 June, the Director-General discussed the progress of and next steps for the ILO’s cooperation work in the country with the Vietnamese Prime Minister, Pham Minh Chinh, National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, and Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Dao Ngoc Dung.

ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo meets with National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue. © ILO
Meeting with Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung. © ILO
He met representatives of workers’ organizations – the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) - and employers’ organizations – the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Viet Nam Cooperative Alliance (VCA). He also held talks with UN Resident Coordinator, Pauline Tamesis, and the UN country team in Viet Nam.

Meeting with representative of workers’ organizations – VGCL President Nguyen Dinh Khang. © ILO
Meeting with representative of employers’ organizations – VCCI President Pham Tan Cong. © ILO
The ILO Director-General together with UN Resident Coordinator Pauline Tamesis and the UN Country Team in Viet Nam. © ILO
The ILO and Viet Nam have worked closely together over recent decades in many areas. During this time Viet Nam has made significant progress in labour reforms, including with the revised 2019 Labour Code, decent employment, industrial relations, sustainable enterprises, social protection and other related social and labour policies.

Director-General Houngbo praised Viet Nam’s record of rapid economic development and expressed his appreciation for the country’s commitment to ratification and implementation of the ILO’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

“I commend Viet Nam for the progress made in the past years which has paved the way for ensuring decent work and more progressive, stable, and harmonious industrial relations in the country,” said the ILO Director-General. “The ILO remains committed to continuing our technical support and being a trusted partner to Viet Nam as together we seek to ensure that every worker in Viet Nam enjoys the rights and benefits of economic development and social justice.”

During his visit, Director-General Houngbo extended an invitation to Viet Nam to become a pathfinder country for the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions. The challenges experienced by Viet Nam in expanding decent and productive employment and reducing informal employment in the context of rapid digitalization, an aging population and climate change, are closely aligned with the Global Accelerator’s support focus.

The ILO Director-General shared his vision for a Global Coalition for Social Justice and emphasized the importance of focusing on the social dimensions of sustainable development and economic growth. He expressed hope that countries, including Viet Nam, will join hands in the coalition.

“Together, we can work towards social justice in a broad coalition, enabling societies and economies to function better, overcome global challenges and to reduce poverty, inequalities, and put in motion a just transition to greener, sustainable and fairer economies,” Houngbo said.

Concluding his stay in Viet Nam, the Director-General visited a garment factory in Hung Yen, a province bordering Hanoi. The factory is part of the IFC-ILO Better Work programme, which brings together government, employers, workers and international buyers to improve labour conditions and competitiveness in Viet Nam's apparel industry and supply chains, harnessing trade incentives to drive decent work outcomes.

DG Houngbo visits a garments factory under the IFC-ILO Better Work Programme. © ILO