Labour market governance and working conditions in Asia and the Pacific

A garment factory in Viet Nam.

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Labour market governance covers the range of policies, norms, laws, regulations, institutions and processes that influence the demand and supply of labour. Strengthening the capacity of and improving relations between those who demand labour (employers) and those who supply it (workers) is an integral part of labour market governance.

Developments linked to globalization – including the increase in global production systems, expanding cross-border trade, intensifying competition and rapid market integration – have affected the supply and demand of labour, leading to calls for labour market reforms.

In essence labour market reform seeks to balance the employers’ demand for greater efficiency and flexibility with the workers’ need for employment stability, increased social protection and expanded social security. Its overall goal is to ensure that reforms are seen by all as efficient, equitable and fair. Depending on national circumstances, areas that may be considered as requiring reform include regulatory frameworks, labour administration systems, industrial relations norms and practices, and the operation of various bipartite and tripartite institutions including employers’ and workers’ organizations.

Better and stronger labour market