Collective Bargaining - Overview

Collective agreements: Cambodia, China, Thailand and Vietnam all have legislation that allows employees to conclude collective contracts with employers.

Cambodian legislation specifies that a collective agreement must be signed by an employer or group of employers or one or more organisations who are acting as representatives for the employer/s, and on the other hand, one or more trade unions that act as representation for the employees. Chinese legislation specifies that: ‘Collective contracts shall be signed by and between the trade union on behalf of the employees and the employer. In an enterprise that has not yet set up a trade union, such contracts shall be signed by and between representatives recommended by workers and the enterprise’ [Article 33 of the Chinese Labour Law].

In Thailand, agreements must be negotiated and signed by representatives of the employees (elected by a minimum 15% of the workforce) and employers (the representative of the employer must be a director, shareholder, regular employee or Committee member) [Section 13, Labour Relations Act].

In Vietnam, a collective agreement must be negotiated and signed by the representative of the labour collective and the employer based on the principles of voluntary commitment and fairness, and must be made public. In Vietnam, a collective agreement may run for a period of one to three years, except where an enterprise has signed an agreement for the first time, in which case it may be for less than one year. In Thailand a collective agreement should not exceed three years, and similarly in China a collective contract should run for one to three years.

Strikes: In Vietnam, the labour collective has the right to strike where conciliation at the labour arbitration council level has failed. Similarly, in Thailand employees may strike where conciliation fails. Laotian legislation strictly prohibits workers or their representatives from calling a work stoppage in a wide variety of situations. In China, the right to strike was removed from the Constitution in 1982, and the revised Trade Union Law does not use the term ‘strike’ (bagong) but instead refers to instances of ‘work stoppages’ (tinggong) and ‘go-slows’ (daigong). In Cambodia, the right to strike and to implement a lockout are guaranteed. These rights can be exercised by one of the parties to a dispute in the event of rejecting the arbitral decision.

You are here: Section 8 - Collective Bargining