Textile Trade and Women's Work in Vietnam and the Philippines

Irene Norlund


The study makes the following findings: In mid-1980s, in both Vietnam and the Philippines, 85 to 90 percent of textile workers are women. In both Vietnam and the Philippines, wages are higher and social conditions are better in factories than in small-time production units. The political systems are, of course, different in the two countries. In the Philippines, there are labor laws outlining general minimum conditions. Also, trade unions make special agreements in various factories to improve income and working conditions. In Vietnam, there are also certain regulations carried out at a national level. The functions of trade unions are important in the implementation of social security measures. In Vietnam, state-employed workers do not lose their jobs but when crisis occurs, they only receive the basic wages. In the Philippines, there is no employment support. There is not much difference in the capacities of the textile industry in Vietnam and in the Philippines, but the small producers of textiles are much more important in Vietnam than in the Philippines. As for the garment industry, the capacity is much bigger in Vietnam than in the Philippines. The structural organization of textile and garment production has some interesting similarities and differences. In Vietnam, the cooperative sector is organized under local district handicraft unions while in the Philippines, the garment producers are organized in a national association. The small producers and the workers in the Philippines are not organized at all. The independent producers in Vietnam are not organized, either, but so far, the number is probably much smaller than that in the Philippines.

Full Text: