National Debate on the Future of Work in Lao PDR Highlights the Need for a Human Centred Agenda
23 August 2019
Organized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in collaboration with the workers’ and employers’ organization, and the ILO, the high level dialogue, gathered more than a hundred participants from civil societies, UN agencies, embassies, NGOs, etc.
Participants discussed the report of the Global Commission entitled “Work for a brighter future” which was released in January 2019.
The report examines how to achieve a better future of work for all, at a time of unprecedented change and exceptional challenges in the world of work. It calls for a human-centered approach that focuses on three courses of action: investing in people’s capabilities, institutions of work and in decent and sustainable work.
Its recommendations include:
- A universal labour guarantee that protects fundamental workers’ rights, an adequate living wage, limits on hours of work and safe and healthy workplaces.
- Guaranteed social protection from birth to old age that supports people’s needs over their life cycle.
- A universal entitlement to lifelong learning that enables people to skill, reskill and upskill.
- Managing technological change to boost decent work, including an international governance system for digital labour platforms.
- Greater investments in the care, green and rural economies.
- A transformative and measurable agenda for gender equality.
- Reshaping business incentives to encourage long-term investments.
The event was co-chaired by the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Dr. Sompheng Saysompheng; and the debate was contributed by Ms. Baykham Kattiya, Vice Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Mr. Symoun Ounlasy, Vice President of Lao Federation of Trade Unions, and Ms. Valy Vetsaphong, Vice President of Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“The report’s recommendations are designed to put people and the work they do at the center of economic and social policy and business practice” said Graeme Buckley, Director of the ILO country office in Lao PDR, adding that “a large part of Lao PDR’s population – including children, women, people with disabilities and older persons, are still vulnerable to social, economic, and natural risks, especially those working in the informal and rural economies who lack access to social protection.”
Mr. Buckley concluded that “the full benefits of the Lao demographic dividend will only be realized if new jobs keep pace with the growth of the working age population and if young women and men are better equipped with appropriate skills and knowledge. We hope that the implementation of the National Social Project Strategy and the National Rural Employment Strategy, which are being drafted by Lao PDR, will provide a solid action for all relevant partners in Lao PDR in addressing these challenges.”
The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Dr. Saysompheng, said: “The report of the Global Commission on the future of work is a vital contribution to labour policies and development strategies, contributing to the implementation of the SDGs 2030, particularly SDG 8.”
Dr. Saysompheng also congratulated the ILO for its long standing action: “a 100 years of advancing social justice and promoting decent work”, and insisted on “the importance of decent work and social justice as the foundations of peace, quality, and prosperity in the country.” He expressed his appreciation of ILO’s technical support in the past decades, particularly in promoting decent work in Lao PDR.
The International Labour Organization (ILO), established since 1919, is the United Nations specialized agency dedicated to labour issues. Within a unique tripartite structure it brings together governments, employers and workers representatives to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. In Lao People Democratic Republic, the tripartite constituents are represented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the Lao Federation of Trade Unions, and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.