Bet­ter Work – a col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Unit­ed Nation’s Inter­na­tion­al Labour Orga­ni­za­tion (ILO) and the Inter­na­tion­al Finance Cor­po­ra­tion (IFC), a mem­ber of the World Bank Group – is a com­pre­hen­sive pro­gramme bring­ing togeth­er all lev­els of the gar­ment indus­try to improve work­ing con­di­tions and respect of labour rights for work­ers, and boost the com­pet­i­tive­ness of appar­el businesses.

As a result of their par­tic­i­pa­tion with Bet­ter Work, fac­to­ries have steadi­ly improved com­pli­ance with ILO core labour stan­dards and nation­al leg­is­la­tion cov­er­ing com­pen­sa­tion, con­tracts, occu­pa­tion­al safe­ty and health and work­ing time. This has sig­nif­i­cant­ly improved work­ing con­di­tions and, at the same time enhanced fac­to­ries’ pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and profitability.

Cur­rent­ly, the pro­gramme is active in 1,450 fac­to­ries employ­ing more than 1.9 mil­lion work­ers in sev­en coun­tries.  As well as advis­ing fac­to­ries, Bet­ter Work col­lab­o­rates with gov­ern­ments to improve labour laws, and with brands to ensure progress is sus­tained. We also advise unions on how to give work­ers a greater say in their lives, and work with donors to help achieve their broad­er devel­op­ment goals.

Our vision is a glob­al gar­ment indus­try that lifts mil­lions of peo­ple out of pover­ty by pro­vid­ing decent work, empow­er­ing women, dri­ving busi­ness com­pet­i­tive­ness and pro­mot­ing inclu­sive eco­nom­ic growth.


Since 2009, Better Work Vietnam has joined with workers, employers and government to improve working conditions and boost competitiveness of the garment industry.

The pro­gramme has near­ly 50 staff mem­bers work­ing on assess­ment, advi­so­ry and train­ing ser­vices. BWV also works close­ly with the Min­istry of Labour (MOLISA) and it has served as a mod­el for the social dia­logue adopt­ed in the 2013 nation­al labour code.

The gar­ment sec­tor in Viet­nam has enjoyed remark­able growth in the last two decades to become one of the country’s largest indus­tries, gen­er­at­ing exports of more than USD 28 bil­lion in 2015.

The indus­try now pro­vides jobs for some 2.5 mil­lion peo­ple, who in turn sup­port mil­lions of oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers through the wages they earn in the factories.

More than 80 per­cent of gar­ment work­ers are women, most of whom are young and most of whom are inter­nal migrants from rur­al areas. As a source of more secure and bet­ter paid jobs for many, the gar­ment sec­tor has grown to become an impor­tant dri­ver of pover­ty reduc­tion and socio-eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment in Vietnam.

There are around 6,000 tex­tile and gar­ment fac­to­ries in the coun­try, around 70 per­cent of which are pro­duc­ing ready­made gar­ments. Most gar­ment firms pro­duce at the cut-make-trim end of the val­ue chain. Around 800 fac­to­ries are pro­duc­ing for direct export, most­ly to brands and retail­ers in North Amer­i­ca, Europe and Japan.

Bet­ter Work start­ed oper­a­tions in Viet­nam in 2009, and now pro­vides sup­ports more than 400 export-ori­ent­ed fac­to­ries employ­ing over half a mil­lion work­ers – some 21 per­cent of the industry’s work­force, main­ly in the Ho Chi Minh area. To date, the pro­gramme has con­duct­ed thou­sands of assess­ments and advi­so­ry vis­its to help fac­to­ries iden­ti­fy and improve their work­ing con­di­tions and labour standards.

Bet­ter Work Viet­nam also works with nation­al stake­hold­ers in the Gov­ern­ment, Trade Union and Employer’s Orga­ni­za­tion to build their capac­i­ty to sup­port com­pli­ance and improve­ment in the indus­try and devel­op prac­ti­cal, evi­dence based poli­cies for more effec­tive labour mar­ket governance.

Recent reforms to the law under the 2012 Labour Code were based in part on the prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ence of the Bet­ter Work programme.

See Case Study: Bet­ter Work Viet­nam Shows Path for Labour Law Reform

In August 2016, Bet­ter Work Viet­nam signed a much antic­i­pat­ed pro­to­col with the Min­istry of Labour (MOLISA) on Zero Tol­er­ance issues, name­ly child Labour, forced labour and dis­crim­i­na­tion. The pro­to­col stip­u­lates that cas­es of forced labour found in fac­to­ries will be imme­di­ate­ly referred to MOLISA for enforce­ment and remediation.

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Our impact

Since 2009, BWV has con­duct­ed more than 4,200 advi­so­ry vis­its to help fac­to­ries improve their labour stan­dards. Researchers from Tufts Uni­ver­si­ty stud­ied the impact of Bet­ter Work Viet­nam in the past five years, and found that sig­nif­i­cant progress has been made dur­ing this peri­od, with poten­tial for fur­ther improvements.

Here are some of their findings:

Work­ers expe­ri­ence greater con­tract sta­bil­i­ty along with increased pay. Bet­ter Work is pre­vent­ing the use of inse­cure or unpro­tect­ed con­tracts that leave the work­er in a pre­car­i­ous employ­ment sit­u­a­tion. The longer a fac­to­ry par­tic­i­pates in the pro­gramme, the less fre­quent their abuse of pro­ba­tion­ary con­tracts. Work­ers’ report­ed take-home pay increas­es in con­stant terms. Bet­ter Work is dri­ving this effect through ensur­ing com­pli­ance with pay­ing work­ers as promised in their contracts.

Bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions, and par­tic­i­pa­tion in Bet­ter Work, are linked to high­er prof­itabil­i­ty. Fac­to­ries with bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions are up to 8% more prof­itable than their coun­ter­parts. And, the aver­age firm enrolled in Bet­ter Work Viet­nam increas­es its rev­enue to cost ratio by 25% after four years of participation.

The qual­i­ty of jobs in the gar­ment sec­tor influ­ences the edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties of work­ers’ chil­dren. School enrol­ment rates in Viet­nam are high, includ­ing among the chil­dren of gar­ment sec­tor work­ers. Yet researchers estab­lish evi­dence show­ing increased abil­i­ty to pay for school­ing among work­ers in fac­to­ries com­mit­ted to improv­ing con­di­tions of work.


HO-CHI-MINH-Ville, Viet­nam (OIT Infos) – Le pro­gramme Bet­ter Work  béné­fi­cie surtout aux femmes qui, au Viet­nam, représen­tent 80 pour cent de la main‑d’œuvre employée dans le secteur tex­tile, l’une des plus impor­tantes indus­tries du pays. Pour beau­coup d’entre elles, tra­vailler en usine est leur pre­mière expéri­ence d’emploi formel. Voici l’histoire de cinq femmes qui tra­vail­lent dans des usines par­tic­i­pant à Bet­ter Work au Vietnam:

Bet­ter Work – un pro­gramme con­joint de l’OIT et de la Société finan­cière inter­na­tionale (SFI) – est présent dans huit pays, touchant plus de deux mil­lions de tra­vailleurs, et opère au Viet­nam depuis 2009. Un peu plus de 500 usines, avec des effec­tifs de 700 000 employés, par­ticipent au pro­gramme dans le pays.

Une grande étude  menée pour le pro­gramme a mon­tré que les usines de con­fec­tion qui offrent des emplois décents, de bonne qual­ité, et trait­ent équitable­ment leurs employés, peu­vent être un puis­sant fac­teur d’autonomisation pour les femmes et con­tribuer à des béné­fices durables, pour elles, leurs familles et leurs communautés.

Grâce à leur par­tic­i­pa­tion au pro­gramme Bet­ter Work, les usines ont sans cesse ren­for­cé leur con­for­mité aux normes fon­da­men­tales du tra­vail de l’OIT et à la lég­is­la­tion nationale con­cer­nant la rémunéra­tion, les con­trats, la sécu­rité et la san­té au tra­vail et la durée du tra­vail. Cela a con­sid­érable­ment amélioré les con­di­tions de tra­vail et, dans le même temps, aug­men­té la pro­duc­tiv­ité et la rentabil­ité des usines.