Sunday, June 22, 2008

The following item is from the LibCom website, a British anarchocommunist site. Over in Vietnam there has been a wave of illegal strikes, carried out unofficially by the workers themselves. Vietnam, like China, is a managerial society where the ruling class- the managers- are attempting to correct some of the irrationalities of their class rule by opening up parts of their economy to investment by other managerial corporations, in the vain hope that this will bring about the corrections of a "free market" to their country and lead to prosperity. A "free market", of course, has its own irrationalities, but the way that this pseudo-transition has been managed in countries such as Vietnam and China leads to some very unique tensions. One is that the loosening of the economy inevitably leads to organization on the part of the working class, the very class that the ruling managers mendaciously claim to represent. The managers are stuck between a desire to maximize their own well-being by "liberalization" and the need to keep a repressive hold on the consequences of such liberalization. Class struggle is often at its most brutal in such transition periods. The official bodies that the ruling class set up prove totally ineffective to protect workers' interests or to mollify rising working class demands.
Vietnam: 330 illegal strikes in six months:

A total of 330 strikes have been recorded so far this year and all of them were illegal because they were not led by the trade unions and didn’t follow the law, reported the Vietnam National Confederation of Labour at a conference in Hanoi on June 16-17.

The confederation’s Vice Chairman, Mai Duc Chinh, said that under the current regulations, only grassroots trade unions have the right to organise strikes, but this regulation is unrealistic because there is no mechanism to protect trade union leaders and most employers don’t positively cooperate with trade unions.

Most leaders of grassroots trade unions assume many jobs so they don’t have much time for this job. Their skills as trade union leaders are also very poor, Chinh said.

He also said that the rules on compensating companies for losses caused by illegal strikes are unfeasible. For example, a company in HCM City lodged a case with the court but its petition was rejected because it was unable to define the major subject of the lawsuit among 10,000 workers participating in the strike.

Since the amended Labour Code took effect on July 1, 2007, illegal strikes have continued to increase in number.

Under the current law, labourers are not allowed to go on strike in conflicts of rights but must bring the conflict to court. They can go on strike if conflicts of interest are not solved by negotiations. Labourers must compensate their employers if the court finds that their strikes were illegal.

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