A joint effort by the General Statistics Office (GSO) of Việt Nam, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs’ Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs, the report polled nearly 20,000 households each month in 63 cities and provinces nationwide from 2007. Data about unofficial workforce were added into survey questionnaires from 2014.

Information gathered revealed that about 60 per cent of unofficial workers live in rural areas in the Mekong and Red River Deltas. In the northern mountainous mid-lands and the Central Highlands regions, workers are mainly involved in agriculture and forestry. Unofficial workers in Hà Nội and HCM City make up more than 20 per cent of the total nationwide.

Most unofficial workers are involved in manufacturing and processing, construction, wholesale-retail and vehicle repair, accounting for about 70 per cent of the total. Lodging and catering services account for another 11 per cent.

The monthly wages of these workers averages VNĐ4.4 million (US$192) a head compared to VNĐ6.7 million for the formal sector. Up to 97.9 per cent of unofficial workers lack social insurance compared to the 80.5 per cent of workers in the formal sector who do have social insurance.

Vulnerable group

Unofficial workers are known to have unstable jobs, lack labour contracts or are forced to work on verbal contracts to earn low income.

About 76.7 per cent of unofficial workers have no official labour contracts, according to the report.

Particularly, their employers operate on a micro or small scale, lack business registration or fail to pay social and health insurance or other welfare to workers.

The report shows that up to 43.9 per cent of unofficial workers are classified as being vulnerable. Female workers tend to do jobs that are more vulnerable than male workers. A total of 59.6 per cent of female workers work in vulnerable jobs while the figure is 31.8 per cent for males.

Director of the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs Đào Quang Vinh said unofficial workers always had insecure employment, disadvantages in wage arrangements, inadequate welfare and insufficient employment conditions.

To reduce their vulnerability, he suggested adopting specific action plans to encourage business households to apply for registration and provide them with support in capital, technology, consumption and workforce training.

Nguyễn Thị Xuân Mai, head of the GSO’s Population and Labour Statistics Department, said the State should encourage unofficial workers to join voluntary social insurance via aids.

Director of ILO Việt Nam, Chang Hee Lee, said the unofficial economy was a common challenge in many countries. To reduce unofficial workers, it was necessary to promote official employment by creating opportunities for unofficial workers to work in companies, to have labour contracts and to be paid social and health insurance.

The report would serve as a basis to help ministries and agencies put forward appropriate policies, he said.

Vietnam News - October 06, 2017