Better Work

New report shows improvements across Viet Nam’s garment factories

News | 13 July 2020
© ILO/Nguyen Viet Thanh
HANOI (ILO News) – Working conditions across garment factories in the International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) Better Work Viet Nam programme have significantly improved, shows the latest report issued by the organization today.

The data indicates that 72 per cent of the 295 factories visited last year had two or fewer public reporting issues. Violations on setting up a functioning occupational safety and health (OSH) unit dropped from 52 per cent in 2011 to 32 per cent in 2019. Non-compliance on accurate payrolls was also down to 13 per cent in 2019 from 42 per cent eight years before.

Going forward, we are committed to leveraging the impacts of our programme by pursuing a more sustainable approach with deeper engagement with our stakeholders."

Nguyen Hong Ha, Head of Better Work in Asia
“Better Work Viet Nam is proud to have made significant impacts on the garment industry over the past ten years. Going forward, we are committed to leveraging the impacts of our programme by pursuing a more sustainable approach with deeper engagement with our stakeholders. Innovation will be the spirit of our team and sustainability will be the core of our work in Viet Nam. We look forward to continuing this exciting journey in partnership with all stakeholders,” said Nguyen Hong Ha, Head of Better Work in Asia.

Through a collaboration that began in 2009, the ILO and the International Finance Cooperation initiated Better Work Viet Nam to improve working conditions and competitiveness in the garment and footwear industries. Over the past decade, the well-being of workers and enterprise performance and competitiveness within Viet Nam and in the global market has been steadily increasing.

The programme now covers more than 360 garment and footwear factories and benefits more than 600,000 workers. The programme offers assessments, training and advisory services to all enrolled factories.

The findings presented in the 2019 annual report draw from assessments of 295 factories in 2019.

Compliance highlights

Better Work has seen significant progress in several areas: The programme has succeeded in speeding up the pace of change through publicly reporting its findings on its website. Key improvements have been seen in some areas of OSH, greater transparency in payroll records, and improved union autonomy in decision-making.

As previous reports highlighted, the incidence of child labour and forced labour is very rare among the Better Work participating factories.

However, high non-compliance rates in some OSH areas still persist, for example on fire detection and alarm system, medical unit, and electrical safety. Excessive working hours also remain a compliance challenge, as does gender-based discrimination in the workplace.

The annual report provides a snapshot of the garment industry to facilitate discussions and a shared approach in the sector for improvement.

“We express our support for the Better Work Viet Nam programme and call upon all stakeholders to continue to help make progress in improving working conditions in Viet Nam’s garment sector,” Nguyen Hong Diep, Deputy Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and Chairperson of the Programme Advisory Committee said, endorsing the report.

In 2019, Viet Nam’s garment and textile industry reached a remarkable export revenue of US$39 billion. However, many clothing factories have been facing a difficult time during the global economic downturn caused by COVID-19. Resolving these challenges requires shared efforts of all stakeholders in the supply chain. Better Work Viet Nam is collaborating with national and global partners to support workers, employers and the government through the new challenges imposed by the global COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

The Better Work Vietnam Annual Report 2019 is available in Vietnamese and English here.