At Union Offices and to the News Headlines
- 85 Downloads
This chapter examines how labour law shapes another form of labour resistance in Vietnam: workers’ lodgement of letters to local union offices, including a letter published in full in the national labour newspaper. It finds that, in workers’ experience on the shop floor, legal provisions supposed to protect their interests have been replaced with arbitrary rules that have perpetuated exploitation and silenced their voices. However, most letter writers do not judge managerial conduct nor frame workers’ demands explicitly in terms of labour law, but through the lens of conscience and morality. Workers who adopt language from the labour law attempt to emphasise their expressions of immoral treatment rather than make a legal case. The styles of those letters also vary as writers go from depicting workers’ hardship and destitution in an emotional manner to bargaining and negotiating for a fair reward. These modes of narrative are underpinned and accompanied by different values concerning workers’ relationship with the state and management: the moral economy value that workers’ subsistence shall be guaranteed and reciprocal obligations shall be upheld, and the ideal of social equality. As the labour law contains provisions and principles that reflect those moral values, workers’ moral understandings of justice indeed resonate with how labour relations should operate according to law, rather than in place of it.
- Albiston, C. R. & Leachman, G. M. (2015). Law as an Instrument of Social Change. In J.D. Wright. International Encyclopedia of The Social & Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed.). Oxford: Elsevier.Google Scholar
- Chae, S. (2003). Spinning Work and Weaving Life: The Politics of Production in a Capitalistic Multinational Textile Factory in Vietnam. Unpublished PhD thesis. City University of New York, New York.Google Scholar
- Dân Trí (14/2/2014). Doanh nghiệp dùng ‘luật rùng’ quỵt lương, đòi công nhân trả lại thưởng Tết. http://dantri.com.vn/ban-doc/doanh-nghiep-dung-luat-rung-quyt-luong-doi-cong-nhan-tra-lai-thuong-tet-1392782780.htm. Accessed 20th January 2017.
- Đồng Nai Labour Federation (2014). Report on the work of taking care of material and mental lives for workers and the situation of strikes and work stoppages.Google Scholar
- Đồng Nai Labour Federation (2016). General report on union work in 2015, and tasks and directions in 2016.Google Scholar
- Felstiner, W., Abel, R. & Sarat, A. (1980/1981). The Emergence and Transformation of Disputes: Naming, Blaming, Claiming…. Law and Society Review, 15 (3/4), 631–654.Google Scholar
- Hiến Pháp nước Cộng Hòa Xã Hội Chủ Nghĩa Việt Nam [The Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam].Google Scholar
- International Labor Organization (2012). Decent Work: Country Profile – Philippines. Geneva.Google Scholar
- International Labor Organization (n.d.). Decent Work. http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/decent-work/lang%2D%2Den/index.htm. Accessed 24th June 2016.
- Kerkvliet, B. J. (2011). Workers’ Protests in Contemporary Vietnam. In A. Chan (ed.). Labour in Vietnam. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asia Studies.Google Scholar
- Lao Động (1/6/2010a). Lá thư đầy uất nghẹn của một công nhân [A Worker’s Letter That Is Full of Grief]. http://laodong.com.vn/cong-doan/la-thu-day-uat-nghen-cua-mot-cong-nhan-25710.bld. Accessed 15th October 2015.
- Lao Động (22/6/2010b). Phải tôn trọng nhân phẩm công nhân. http://laodong.com.vn/cong-doan/phai-ton-trong-nhan-pham-cong-nhan-49328.bld. Accessed 24th June 2016.
- Lao Động (2/8/2014). Vì sao phải điều chỉnh mức lương tối thiểu vùng I lên 3.4 triệu đồng?. http://laodong.com.vn/cong-doan/vi-sao-phai-dieu-chinh-muc-luong-toi-thieu-vung-i-len-34-trieu-dong-230519.bld. Accessed 24th June 2016.
- Luong, H.V. (2016). Social Relations, Regional Variation, and Economic Inequality in Contemporary Vietnam: A View from Two Vietnamese Rural Communities. In P. Taylor (ed.). Connected and Disconnected in Viet Nam: Remaking Social Relations in a Post-socialist Nation. Acton: ANU Press.Google Scholar
- Nghiem, L. H. (2006). Work Culture, Gender and Class in Vietnam: Ethnographies of Three Garment Workshops in Ha Noi. Unpublished PhD thesis. University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
- Ngưới Lao Động (4/8/2014). Giám đốc công ty dùng luật…rùng. https://nld.com.vn/thoi-su-trong-nuoc/giam-doc-cong-ty-dung-luat-rung-20140804215838639.htm. Accessed 20th January 2017.
- Pun, N. (2016). Migrant Labor in China: Post-Socialist Transformations. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- Scott, J. (1976). The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- The National Party’s Congress VII (1991). The fundamentals of building the country in the path towards socialism.Google Scholar
- Trần, A. N. (2013). Ties that Bind: Cultural Identity, Class, and Law in Vietnam’s Labor Resistance. Ithaca: Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publications.Google Scholar
- Tuổi Trẻ (11/9/2014). ‘Làm ăn’ trong rùng luật. https://tuoitre.vn/lam-an-trong-rung-luat-644149.htm. Accessed 20th January 2017.
- Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (2014). Decision 254/QD-TLD on Trade unions resolving and participating in the resolution of complaints and denunciations.Google Scholar