Opportunity for all in the workplace

May 13, 2011 | 17:00
A practical training programme for medium and large enterprises in northern Vietnam has become fruitful.

Jointly conducted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), “Opportunity for All” is a comprehensive programme of training and in-factory assistance to help enterprises to develop an HIV prevention and disability management policy.

“We are very pleased with the results of this pilot programme. In a very short period of time, these enterprises have taken concrete steps to hiring people with disabilities as well as preventing HIV in their workplaces.

This is just the start for these enterprises, now that the factories have policies, we are confident that they will continue to hire more people with disabilities and conduct HIV prevention activities,” said Rie Vejs-Kjeldgaard, director of the ILO Office in Vietnam.

Seven manufacturing companies, employing 14,000 workers in Hanoi, and provinces of Vinh Phuc, Hung Yen and Hai Duong in late April, 2011 completed the pilot programme, which began to engage in textiles and garment, power production, construction, wrapping and cosmetic production on February 18, 2011.

According to the ILO, the programme’s results are encouraging. Six of the seven enterprises have developed policies on HIV and disability in the workplace. These policies promote non-discrimination and ensure no compulsory HIV testing of workers or disclosure of HIV status when recruiting. Several of these enterprises have now established HIV awareness teams. The teams will provide training and communication for workers so they can protect themselves from HIV.

The companies have also committed to employment of people with disabilities.  For example, Hoa Lan Joint Stock Company, has already hired three people with disabilities in their packaging workshop in Hung Yen.

Two of the other enterprises are now collaborating with the local association of people with disabilities to recruit qualified and skilled people with disabilities for their enterprises. As a result of the training provided by Opportunity for All, the enterprises can integrate these disabled workers into the mainstream workplaces and ensure they work effectively, and do not face any discrimination due to their impairments.

In Vietnam, the 2009 census showed that 7.8 per cent of the population or 6.1 million Vietnamese had disabilities. The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs estimated that 69 per cent of these people were of working age (16 to 55-60) and only around 30 per cent of them had a job and a stable income to support themselves and their families. This low rate of employment was a significant cost to families and government who have to provide support.

UNAIDS estimated that in 2012, approximately 280,000 people would live with HIV/AIDS in Vietnam and more than 40,000 people would be infected each year.

By Thanh Tung


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