Trade Unions – Establishment Procedures And Conditions For Maintaining The Primary Trade Union Activities

Trade Union is a term familiar to the state agencies, government organizations in the party but this term is quite strange and not widely popular among private businesses. So, what is the Trade Union? What are the establishment procedures and conditions for maintaining the Trade Union activities? These questions will be answered in detail in the following article. And the article below is limited to businesses and laborers.

Trade Union is a political – social organization of laborers and is established on the voluntary basis of laborers. Trade unions are divided into the primary trade unions and Trade Union at the directly higher level of primary one. The primary trade unions mean primary organization of Trade Unions, which gathering members of Trade Unions in one or a number of agencies, organizations, enterprises and be recognized by Trade Unions at their directly higher level as prescribed by law and charter of Vietnamese Trade Union[1]. Trade Union at the directly higher level of primary one means a level in the system of Trade Union organization, directly implement right of reorganization for a primary Trade Union, right of directing activities of primary Trade Unions and connect primary Trade Unions as prescribed by law and charter of Vietnamese Trade Union[2].

Enterprises of all economic sectors, cooperatives that employ laborers according to the Labor Law, branches and representative offices of enterprises of all economic sectors, foreign agencies, organizations and individuals employing Vietnamese laborers (hereinafter referred to as “enterprises”) are allowed to establish the primary Trade Unions when they meet both conditions as having full legal status and must have at least five (05) trade union members or five (05) laborers who have voluntarily joined the Vietnam Trade Union.

When your enterprise wants to establish a primary Trade Union for laborers, you need to follow the following procedure:

(1) Firstly, if there are three (03) or more laborers who are working for enterprises voluntarily join a Trade Union, they must have voluntary applications to join the Trade Union of Vietnam and send it to the Trade Union at the directly higher level of primary one. Then, electing the Head of the mobilization committee to mobilize laborers to join the Trade Union to ensure that at least five (05) laborers are voluntary and have voluntary applications to join the Trade Union. After that, the enterprise proceeds with the internal documents of the enterprise such as nominating the Provisional Executive Committee consisting of three (03) people who are the Trade Union President and two (02) members of the Executive Committee; operational direction of trade unions,…

(2) Completing the primary Trade Union establishment dossier, including: A copy of the enterprise operation registration certificate, an official letter requesting establishment of primary Trade Union, a list of admission of union members, a list of Provisional Executive Board nominations, direction of operation of the primary Trade Union, applications for joining the Trade Union of Labor Union members at enterprises (Enclose card photos 2×3 to make membership cards). Nominating a representative to submit an original dossier to the Trade Union at the directly higher level of primary one.

(3) The Trade Union at the directly higher level of primary one decides to recognize the primary Trade Union and negotiates with the business owner and trade union members to define a specific date for holding a ceremony to announce the establishment decision of the primary Trade Union and to recognize union members for voluntary laborers to join trade unions.

(4) Opening a bank account (if the enterprise has more than 15 employees) and follow the instructions of the Trade Union at the directly higher level of primary one to carry out the trade union seal at the Police to manage the seal. 

The condition for maintaining the trade union’s activities is to ensure at least five (05) union members. At the same time, the union members must fulfill the obligation of paying the Trade Union fee equivalent to 1% of the salary as the basis for payment of social insurance of that union member. The Trade Union accountants must make reports on trade union activities and trade union revenues and expenditure for the Trade Union at the directly higher level of primary one, which is like a legal entity’s business activity with an obligation to record the situation activities and business of your enterprise. In case the primary Trade Union does not guarantee the above contents, the primary Trade Union shall submit an application for dissolution of the primary Trade Union with the financial settlement report and send it to the Trade Union at the directly higher level of primary one for settlement. At the same time, the primary Trade Union should contact the City Trade Union for detailed instructions on returning trade union seals.

During the course of operation, the primary Trade Union at the enterprise is allowed to re-extract trade union fund equal to 69% (this rate may vary from year to year) over 2% of the total social insurance payment for both laborers of the enterprise and retain 40% of trade union fee on the total of 1% of social insurance payment of each laborer.

It can be seen that Trade Union activities are concerned by the State and protect the rights and interests of laborers. However the primary Trade Union activities are complex and have clear processes. Therefore, for enterprises with a large labor force such as production and construction enterprises should establish the primary Trade Union. Particularly for small and newly established businesses, the primary Trade Union organizations will be less tight and do not guarantee the purpose of operation.


If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact Apolat Legal – An International Law Firm in Viet Nam.

This article is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.


[1] Clause 2, Article 4 of Law on Trade Union 2012

[2] Clause 2, Article 4 of Law on Trade Union 2012

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