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Work and Organisational Studies

The Challenge from Below and the Transformation of Industrial Relations in Vietnam

Chi Quynh Do, Work and Organisational Studies, PhD Candidate

26th May 2010  12:30 pm - 02:30 pm

Discussant: Associate Professor Nick Wailes, The University of Sydney

Vietnam has been in transition from a socialist command economy to a market economy for the last 20 years. Despite these political economic changes, the industrial relations system remained largely intact until a recent explosion of informal worker activism. Rank-and-file workers who have been poorly represented by the official unions have been able to organise effective collective actions to bargain with the employers for higher wages and better working conditions. This challenge from below has forced provincial governments to adjust their IR approach and at the same time to push for institutional reform at the national level. Informal worker activism and provincial appeal for reform have become the most important stimulus for the transformation of the national IR system. The paper, therefore, proposes an integrated approach which builds on the strategic choice framework while drawing threads from economic theories on institutional change and regionalism to studying the process of IR transformation in Vietnam.