Ho Chi Minh CityTrade unions and employers’ representatives believe that it is necessary for an independent body to announce the minimum standard of living to end the controversy and be consistent with Resolution 27 on wage reform.
The concept of “minimum standard of living”, which was legalized in 2012, is an important basis for calculating the minimum wage. This is also a cause argumentative maximum per session of the National Wage Council. Among the three parties involved in wage calculation, the General Confederation of Labor has repeatedly suggested that there should be an agency independent of the Council, responsible for announcing the minimum standard of living.
Mr. Le Dinh Quang, Deputy Head of Labor Relations Department (General Confederation of Labor), member of the National Wage Council, said that the trade union’s recommendation is consistent with Resolution 27 of the Central Committee on wage reform. . This resolution clearly states that “the State statistical office publishes the annual minimum standard of living as a basis for determining”. minimum wage and recommending wage policy orientations”.
“We understand that the State’s statistical agency is the General Statistics Office. Only this unit has the expertise, personnel and tools to perform,” said Mr. Quang. Not only proposed in the meetings of the National Wage Council, in the proposals sent to the Government, the General Confederation mentioned this issue, but so far it is still open. For the past ten years, the minimum standard of living has been calculated by the Technical Department of the Council.
Currently, the minimum standard of living for an employee in a month includes expenses for food and food (the basket includes 53 items); non-food and food groups (clothing, travel, entertainment…); raise a small child; housing and consumer price index CPI. In which, the percentage structure (%) between food, food and non-food groups is 48-52. The cost of raising a child is 70% of that of an adult.
As a member of the Technical Department of the National Wage Council, Dr. Pham Thi Thu Lan, deputy director of the Institute of Workers and Trade Unions, pointed out the shortcomings when calculating the minimum standard of living. Because it is not possible to survey the consumption habits of employees themselves, the basket of goods to calculate food costs is based on a survey of living standards of 10 population groups published by the General Statistics Office. The reference population group is group 2-3, asymptotic to the group with the lowest spending level in the society.
For example, to calculate this year’s minimum standard of living, the Technical Department uses a basket of goods in 2020 worth VND 807,000, higher than the basket in 2018 (which is the basis for calculating the regional minimum wage in 2020) by only 42,500. copper. Ms. Lan said that the increase was insignificant, not true to the nature of market prices and could not cover the costs incurred after two years of widespread epidemic.
According to Dr. Lan, the negative effects of the epidemic, the consumption habits of population groups will change in the direction of reducing shopping, especially the poor and near-poor groups. Therefore, the amount of money used for food and food expenditures according to the population living standard survey published by the General Statistics Office will naturally give low results.
“Continuing to use this result as a basis for calculating the minimum standard of living risks lowering the quality of life of workers,” said Ms. Lan.
In addition, many points in the calculation of the minimum standard of living caused controversy among members such as the low cost of housing (in 2020, the price of housing in zone I such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi is 426,000 VND), the basis for making This figure is not clear. Or the current minimum standard of living, excluding social insurance deductions, accounts for 32% of the salary as a basis for payment. If the business pays the minimum wage, the amount the worker actually receives will be much lower.
“If there is a specialized agency in charge of annual calculation and publication, the minimum standard of living will be closer to reality,” said Dr. Lan.
Mr. Hoang Quang Phong, Vice President of the Vietnam Confederation of Trade and Industry (VCCI), Vice Chairman of the National Wage Council, also agreed that there should be an independent agency responsible for surveying and publishing the salary level. live minimally to avoid controversy.
“Not only the trade union, but the VCCI is also skeptical about the numbers included in the calculation of the minimum standard of living,” said Mr. Phong, and suggested that the agency could be a social research institute, an experienced agency like the General Department of Vietnam. Statistical.
The VCCI leader said that not only is it responsible for announcing the minimum standard of living, this agency will assess the impact of each salary adjustment period on workers’ living standards, inflation, and the competitiveness of enterprises. from which appropriate recommendations can be made.
Meanwhile, Mr. Pham Minh Huan, former Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, former Chairman of the National Wage Council (period 2013-2016), said that although there is an independent agency that publishes the minimum standard of living, At a minimum, the members of the Council are still subject to review.
Not to mention, the minimum standard of living is only one of the seven determining factors minimum wage including correlation with market wages; consumer price index, economic growth rate; labor supply and demand relationships; employment and unemployment; labor productivity; the company’s ability to pay.
Previously, when setting the minimum standard of living, the National Wage Council invited experts from the General Statistics Office and the National Institute of Nutrition for comments and calculations. According to Mr. Huan, it is important that the Technical Department of the Council must operate regularly, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, not just 3-4 times, every time there is a new meeting to work.
“Only then can there be surveys and close assessments of workers’ lives, from which appropriate parameters can be adjusted,” said Mr. Huan, giving an example of the percentage structure (%) between the salary groups. food and non-food, at times it was 70-30, then gradually adjusted to 49-51 then 48-52 and the target ratio for food was only 30 or 35.
After two years of postponement, recently the National Wage Council met for the first time to negotiate an increase in the regional minimum wage. The specific increase has not been announced, but the parties have calculated the adjustment time: from July this year or early 2023. As usual, the plan and time of salary increase is usually closed at the third meeting, the fastest. in the second session, when the parties find common ground.
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