26-27 July 2017

The Future of Work We Want: Workers’ perspective in South-East Asia and the Pacific

The conference will bring together workers’ leaders, voices from academia, governments and employers from across the region to discuss the profound transformations and challenges faced by the world of work today and in the future.

All sessions of the event will be webcast on Facebook. You can also join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag: #ILOFOW.

The conference will contribute to the Future of Work Centenary Initiative from a trade union perspective, sharing issues faced by the member countries of South East Asia and the Pacific, and discussing possible policy responses both of governments and social partners as a means to promoting and protecting the rights of working men and women.


Increasingly, over the last decades, there have been profound changes in the world of work in the economies across the world, both in developed and developing countries.These changes are driven by a number of factors: globalization and technological innovation, leading to changes in production; greater inequality, polarization and exclusion within labour markets; demographic shifts, including migration; climate change; and, since 2008, economic stagnation.

There are widespread concerns regarding the impact of these social and economic transformations on workers in particular. In order to respond to this it will require a deeper reflection on the role workers have in society, a task not only limited to developed countries, since these transformations manifest themselves in every country and region. Developing countries in particular will be affected by the fast-evolving relocation trends challenging them in the future.

Hence, in 2013 the International Labour Organisation launched the Future of Work Centenary Initiative. Within the initiative, this regional conference is an important step to gain greater understanding of the changes we are witnessing and to develop effective policy responses, also from a gender perspective, that may offset the negative outcomes affecting workers.

The conference is structured around the Initiative’s four “Centenary Conversations” proposed by the Director-General:
  • Work and society;
  • Decent jobs for all;
  • The organization of work and production;
  • The governance of work.

Programme and participants

Wednesday, 26 July

9:00-9.30 Registration
9:30-10:15 Inauguration
  • Welcome: David Lamotte, Deputy Director ILO Regional office for Asia-Pacific
  • Maria Helena Andre, Director, ACTRAV
  • Guy Ryder, Director-General, ILO (Video)

Dialogue 1: Work and Society

10:45-12:45 - Coordinator: Anna Biondi, Deputy Director of the Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV)

  • New scenarios and changes in the world of work: challenges for the role work plays in society.
  • Globalization/de-globalization (return to nationalism).
  • Trends and challenges for inclusive growth at the global and regional level.
  • Industry 4.0 technological revolution (driven by automation and information technology). Risks and opportunities for society as a whole.
  • Inequality, segregation, polarization, exclusion (with a particular focus on income and wealth distribution, demographics, labour migration, education and climate change). Gender perspective.
  • Work as a cornerstone of society: Renewed or interrupted?
Comments on moderator’s questions:
  • Mr  Ybhg Datuk Hj Shamsuddin Bardan, Executive Director of Malaysian Employers Federation
  • Ms Imogen Howells, Social Affairs Officer in the Sustainable Socioeconomic Transformation Section,United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
  • Mr Hari Nugroho, Department of Sociology Universitas, Indonesia
Comments from participants:
  • Mr Felix Anthony, FTUC, Fiji
  • Ms Akiko Gono, JTUC-RENGO, Japan
  • Mr Eduard Marpaung, KSBSI, Indonesia
  • Ms Sylvia Choo, NTUC, Singapore
  • Ms Aranya Pakapat, IndustriALL/SERC, Thailand

Dialogue 2: Decent work for all

14:15-16:15 - Coordinator: Pong-Sul Ahn, Bureau for Workers' Activities in Asia-Pacific (ACTRAV)

  • Challenges posed to the commitment to full, productive and freely chosen work as the basis for sustainable economies.
  • Trends in quantity and quality of employment. Structural unemployment and underemployment.
  • Dynamics of job creation and preservation: trends in traditional sectors and new sectors (green economy, care economy, collaborative economy).
  • The role of the State in applying and promoting a global labour framework at different policy levels (investment, innovation, research and development, macroeconomic policies such as minimum living wages); quality public services that are accessible to all; active and passive employment policies, educational and vocational policies; social protection and social security policies. Funding of public policies.
  • The roles of social partners and other actors shaping society.
Comments on moderator’s questions:
  • Mr YOSHIMURA, Kiichiro, Director, International Labour and Cooperation Office, MHLW, Japanese Government
  • Mr Ancheta Tan, ACE (ASEAN Confederation of Employers)
  • Ms Pitchanuch Supavanich Civil Service Division ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC)
  • Mr Piriya Pholphirul, National Institute of Development Administration, Thailand 
Comments from participants:
  • Mr Josua Mata, SENTRO, the Philippines
  • Ms Sandar Soe Phyo, CTUM, Myanmar
  • Mr Qiao Dong, ACFTU, China
  • Mr Peng Senghak, CLC, Cambodia
  • Ms Lakshmi Vaidhiyanathan, PSI

Special dialogue: The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda

16:45-18:15 - Coordinator: María Helena André, Director of the Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV)

A way towards promoting a future of work based on inclusive growth, social justice and decent work for all.

Comments on moderator’s questions by:
  • Mr Shoya Yoshida, ITUC-AP
  • Mr. Patrik Andersson, Chief of the Sustainable Socioeconomic Transformation Section, ESCAP
  • Mr Setyo Budiantoro, Program Manager of SDGs Economic Pillar, Republic of Indonesia

Thursday, 27 July

9:00-9:15 Video: Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC

Dialogue 3:The organization of work and production

09:15-11:15 - Coordinator: John Ritchotte, ILO Regional office for Asia-Pacific

  • Challenges for public policies and institutions faced with new forms of work and production to promote social justice.
  • New kinds of companies and occupations, challenges posed to governments and social partners.
  • Shifts in the organization of production and their impact on the organization of work (working time, wages, occupational health and safety (physical and psychosocial risks), reconciliation between work and private life).
  • Non-standard forms of employment. Changes in the nature of the employer/employee relationship.
  • Effects of new employment relations on the level of precariousness and informality.
  • Effects on public policies and institutions.
  • Workers’ collective action in the new economy (affiliation, workplace representation, collective bargaining).
Comments on moderator’s questions:
  • Ms Melisa R. Serrano, University of the Philippines
  • Mr  Sok Lor, Secretary General Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations (CAMFEBA)
  • Ms Zhao Zu-Ping, China Institute of Industrial Relations
  • Ms Sara Elder, Head/Senior Economist, ILO ROAP
Comments from participants:
  • Mr Richard Wagstaff, NZCTU, New Zealand
  • Mr Ramidy, KSPI, Indonesia
  • Ms Ryu Mikyung, KCTU, Korea
  • Mr Katsuji Taki, ITF
  • Mr Apolinar Tolentino, BWI Regional Secretary

Dialogue 4: The governance of work

11:30-13:30 - Coordinator: Shigeru Wada, tBureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV)
  • The role of the ILO in a new world setting.
  • Challenges for social dialogue and collective bargaining; balance between regulatory framework and contract provisions; levels of negotiation and the role of social partners.
  • Challenges for the State: Identifying loopholes in regulatory framework and the need for reforms to incorporate new policy tools and institutions.
  • The role of the ILO: ILS, tripartism, social dialogue. Main challenges to promote decent work and social justice in a fragmented labour market increasingly dominated by global supply chains.   
Comments on moderator’s questions:
  • Mr Alain Pelce, Senior International Labour Standard and Labour Law Specialist, ILO DWT-Bangkok
  • Ms Siriwan Romchatthong, Thai Employer representative 
  • Ms Jeong Hee Lee, Korean Labour Institute
Comments from participants:
  • Ms Ged Kearney, ACTU, Australia
  • Mr Allan Montaño, FFW, the Philippines
  • Mr Joseph Pitchay Sandagran Solomon, MTUC, Malaysia
  • Ms Hong Thi Thu Ly, VGCL, Vietnam (Savit)
  • Mr Amarsanaa Enebish, CMTU, Mongolia

15:00-15:30 Final remarks

  • Maria Helena Andre, Director, ACTRAV
  • Nicolas Niemtchinow, Deputy Director-General, ILO (VIDEO)