Com. Dang Ngoc Tung, President and other top functionaries of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, esteemed leaders of the revolutionary Party – CPV and other distinguished leaders, delegates of the 11th National Congress coming from different parts and sectors of representing the great Vietnamese workers, on behalf of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) with a membership of 84 million workers from 126 countries of the world, and its General Secretary Com. George Mavrikos, and on my own behalf I bring the revolutionary and heartfelt Greetings to this great Congress of the Working Class of Vietnam and wish this important congress all success and glory. We are confident that this congress will arrive at very important decisions to strength the movement of the working class in general and the Vietnamese workers in particular, also upholding the principles enshrined in the ‘Athens Pact’ of the last WFTU Congress.
We in WFTU attach very great importance to the VGCL, which has remained one of the pillars of the WFTU all along and also as an inspiration to the working class in the Asia-Pacific Region with which I am closely associated since the last few years and based on that experience I would like to declare that VGCL had always responded favourably to WFTU in all its progressive endeavours.
Vietnam, a jewel in this region, is known for its fierce and courageous struggles against the aggression of formidable imperialist forces like France, Japan and America. After decades of intense fighting under the adverse conditions of deprivation, enemy threats that included unspeakable torture of even civilians, Vietnam attained victory in 1975 declaring the country as Socialist Republic. It was freedom, not only from the imperialist onslaught, but also from age old shackles of a class divided society within. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) moved ahead reconstructing the war ravaged economy as well as the social fabric.
The initiatives to build an egalitarian society continued. The process of industrialization, unleashed since independence, moved ahead under the leadership of state. In the process it was realized that while moving towards socialism, opting for a non-capitalist path, it started the renewal process popularly known as ‘Doi Moi’, striving for a better globalization, and realizing the role of market that was defined as the core of the society today, as stated by former Vice President of the country and President of Vietnam Peace and Development Nguyen Thi Binh, popularly known all over the world as fire and flower of revolution.
Vietnam is engaged in turning a new leaf, with market economy serving the interest and the state playing the leading role. The entire venture has been explained as moving towards socialist oriented market economy. Ho Chi Minh had once said, ‘We are not afraid of deprivation, we are afraid of injustices.’ And at every step the guideline is remembered. Attempts are made to strike balance between the interests of general and particular, public and private, state and people as well as collective and individual. Poverty eradication has been the primary concern that goes on irrespective of hike in wages. Provision of capital and vocational skills to people are taken at priority basis. Thus, in the last two decades and half, the country has been moving towards an equity based democratic system.
However, we understand, as the new politico-economic stance opens up, along with globalization, there is every danger of neo liberalism turning the market from vehicle to goal, not only for the present but for years to come. And it is also true that when the entire capitalist world has been in the grip of an acute crisis, the socialist oriented market economy continues operating in Vietnam uninterrupted and thus further strengthening the leading role of the state. Thus surviving in a hostile world system, the socialist oriented market economy has been opening up for foreign direct investment (FDI) as well as private capital, and at the same time, moves on without surrendering to finance capital.
The trade union rights of the working masses are preserved including the right to strike. The market economy is said to be oriented towards generating more employment and development of skills. Also there are social benefits and reasonable profit for the investor. We understand that with the development of multi-sectoral economy, the number of enterprises and the capital invested have gone up by 2.3 and 7.3 times respectively compared to last five years; joint stock enterprises have become popular form of production and business organisation. Jobs have been created for more than 8 million hands; urban unemployment has gone down by 4.5 percent, the rate of poor households have been brought down to 9.5 percent.
According to the documents of the 11th Party Congress of Vietnam, in the years 2006-2010, total realized FDI was almost 45 billion US dollars, exceeding the plan by 77.8 percent. Total newly registered and additional capital was estimated at 146.8 billion US dollar, 2.7 times more than set in the plan and 7 times more than 2001-2005. Land that is owned by people is usually given on lease to the investors, to be used either for setting up industries or agriculture, but the plot is always designated by the state. The country has been venturing into service sector.
There has been focus on investments on building rural infrastructure, developing new breeds with high productivity and quality, developing industrial clusters and craft villages. There has been marked rise in the rate of production, job creation, hunger eradication and poverty reduction. The supply-demand balance of the economy has been maintained firmly upholding the domestic market and expanding export market shares. A positive shift has been recorded in the labour structure. The process initiated in Vietnam has turned into a guiding force for the countries striving to achieve socialist democracy, despite the fact that the country is too young and experiments are diverse in character.
I would also share the fact that WFTU, the class based international trade union has been expanding in different continents such as Africa, Latin America, Asia and others in the recent years. WFTU has been extending solidarity and support to the struggles of the working class and people in different countries and helping to build the world wide movements of the toiling masses. We are advancing in our unstinted and progressive efforts. We are confident of achieving many success in removing the chains of the working class, in whatever form they exist and create a new social order new egalitarian society devoid of exploitation of man by man. We count on the VGCL’s continued growth and support in the cause of the world working class.
• Long Live Vietnam General Confederation of Labour.
• All Success to Vietnamese Working Class.
• Long Live VGCL – Long Live WFTU.