Laos wants consensus in labour laws across Asean

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Labour officials will refine the draft Law on Labour, which aims to protect the benefits and rights of Lao workers in foreign countries, including other Asean countries.  

Lao government policy is to help workers and to protect their rights. As such, policies and laws that seek to improve working conditions and to protect the rights of workers are in place.

An official from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Khampheng Saysompheng, said the ability of Laos to protect its workers in foreign countries is dependent on individual agreements being in place with each country.

Speaking to labour officials at an annual meeting on the protection of workers’ rights, he said the government needs to work with relevant stakeholders and third party organisations to create a new legal framework that will develop consensus among Asean nations, in particular around the necessary measures needed to protect workers.

The government wants more workers to seek out legal services regarding protection of their rights in other countries, he said.

To ensure Lao workers are informed of their legal rights, the ministry will improve access to legal information for government officials and will provide legal education and training for labour professionals.  This will include efforts to enhance legal knowledge and awareness, he added.

Dr Kampheng explained that in many cases workers are being exploited but don’t have the power to individually bargain with their bosses about the conditions of their work.  

The government, notably the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, has been working to ensure the rights of Lao workers are protected.

For several years Laos has been sending skilled workers to the Republic of Korea after the two countries signed the Service Commitment Agreement of the Point System.

Last year, over 50,000 people from Laos went to other countries for work.  This number includes over 27,000 women, official statistics show. The ministry says most of these workers obtained jobs in Thailand while just 50 or so people found employment in Japan.  

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