Following a speech by BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson, the Philippines Department of Labour and Employment (DoLE) has joined the push for unifying labour standards across the ASEAN bloc, during the 8th ASEAN Regional Tripartite Social Dialogue Conference in Manila yesterday. The BWI and its affiliates have long advocated for such harmonisation, to prevent competition being driven by the deterioration of labour standards.
ASEAN involves 10 Southeast Asian nations, and, while its focus so far has been on security and trade and investment integration, social issues are increasingly being seen as part of the ASEAN mandate as unions and other social actors step up.
Ambet Yuson noted that BWI affiliates have been working to play a more active role in ASEAN through the ASETUC (Asean Service Employees Trade Union Council) mechanism, and that there is a need to raise the level of workers’ participation in the ASEAN, national and local levels to avoid a race to the bottom among workers in the regional bloc.
“We have achieved minimum social dialogue in the region but it is not sufficient to gain social and economic justice for Asean workers. Social and economic justice should be Asean’s goal alongside economic growth through integration,” Yuson added.
Trade unions attending the Conference made a collective statement, which you can read here.