Vietnam, Malaysia trade unions join hands to support migrant workers

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Factory workers wait for rides at dawn in the neighborhood of Majestic Heights in Paya Terubong, Penang, Malaysia in 2013. Photo: Bloomberg Factory workers wait for rides at dawn in the neighborhood of Majestic Heights in Paya Terubong, Penang, Malaysia in 2013. Photo: Bloomberg

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Trade unions of Vietnam and Malaysia have agreed to cooperate in helping Vietnamese workers overcome migration issues in the latter country. 
The Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) and the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which covers a range of important issues such as the establishment of an official bilateral co-operation and awareness raising on labor migration.
Malaysia now is one of the top four destination countries for Vietnamese working migrants.
Though both countries have tried their best to facilitate Vietnamese workers to live and work in Malaysia, "Vietnamese workers in Malaysia meet some difficulties and to tackle them, strong co-operation between the two trade unions is much needed,” said VGCL Chairman Dang Ngoc Tung at the signing ceremony.
The issues faced by Vietnamese migrant workers in Malaysia include high costs of migration, having their passports retained by employers, illegal recruitment, contract substitution, delay of salary payment, unauthorized wage deductions, or the withholding of salary, and being denied days of rest, according to the International Labor Organization.
ILO Vietnam Director Gyorgy Sziraczki said trade unions can help addresses such issues, as well as reduce workers' vulnerability to forced labor and human trafficking.
The MoU is expected to open a new chapter in the cooperation between the two trade unions in the area of labor migration, according to ILO.
Vietnam has sent more than 220,000 workers to Malaysia over the past 10 years. There are now some 80,000 Vietnamese nationals working in 12 out of 13 states of Malaysia, mainly in manufacturing, garment and construction.
Vietnam started to send workers to Malaysia in 2002. The two countries signed an MoU on recruitment of workers to migrate to Malaysia in December 2003.

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