Opening remarks at the Parliament standing committee discussion on draft labour law of Mongolia

By Ms Claire Courteille-Mulder, Director, ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia

Statement | Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia | 23 May 2018
Honourable Mr Enkh-Amgalan, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia and Head of Parliament Standing Committee Working Group on Labour Law,
Honourable Mr Baatarbileg, Chairperson of the Parliament Standing Committee for Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science,
Mr Chinzorig, Member of the Parliament of Mongolia and Minister for Labour and Social Protection,
Mr Ganbaatar, Vice President and Executive Director of Mongolian Employers’ Federation,
Mr Amgalanbaatar, President of Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions,
Honorable members of the Parliament and Distinguished guests,

Let me first express my deepest thanks to the Parliament Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection for hosting this dialogue and for having extended an invitation to the ILO.
The ILO is the only tripartite agency of the United Nations, bringing together governments, employers and workers of 187 countries, to set labour standards in the world of work in the form of conventions and recommendations, and to develop policies and programmes in support of decent work.

Mongolia who has been a member of the ILO for 50 years (to the day tomorrow) has ratified all 20 international labour conventions, including the eight fundamental conventions which protect the right of both workers and employers to organize and to bargain collectively, and prohibit forced labour, child labour and discrimination at work.

Honourable Members of the Parliament, it is a real pleasure to have the opportunity to reflect with you on how to shape a labour market that is fit to take up the challenges of our times. And as you very well know these challenges are considerable, the most widespread of them probably being unemployment, underemployment and informality. New challenges are emerging: inequalities, for example, have deepened over the last decades, becoming a drag for many economies. This is one of the key paradox of our times: Our world has never been so rich, but it has also never been so unequal. Technological innovation, global supply chain, climate change are all affecting the world of work. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda adopted by the international community calls for responses that are fair, inclusive and sustainable leaving no one behind.

This is the global context in which the labour law reform we are discussing today takes place. From that perspective and within the limits of its mandate, back in 2014 the ILO provided technical advice on the draft labour law. It has also provided support to the tripartite working group established by Minister’s Order of which MONEF and CMTU are members. Our recommendations aim at ensuring that the Mongolian new legislation will be fully aligned with international labour standards, and that it will respond to the dynamics of a market economy, while protecting the most vulnerable groups in the labour market.

Let me stress here that experiences around the world have demonstrated that respecting fundamental principles and rights at work is not only the right thing to do, it is also a smart thing to do: when workers do enjoy their rights, their productivity improves, their willingness to learn increases and their capacity to innovate takes off. In addition, at the international level, responsible business practices and respect for fundamental rights and principles at work have received more and more attention becoming a reference in many international trade deals.

Honourable Members of the Parliament, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Mongolia becoming a member of the ILO. This provides a great opportunity to look back on the journey we have done together. I believe that over the last decades, tripartism, social dialogue, and indeed the social partners themselves have been strengthened in this country. The very intense tripartite consultations that have taken place on the current labour law reform are the best testimony of a very lively social dialogue in Mongolia and I want to congratulate on that.

I thank you again for the opportunity to be with you today to share the perspective of the International Labour Organization on this very important legislative reform you are discussing. In fact, labour law reforms are a permanent feature of market economies. As the economic situation constantly evolves, so should labour legislation in order to protect workers and enable businesses to grow.

In that continuous process of revision and improvement, the ILO is and will always be ready to support you within the limits of its mandate.

Thank you for your attention.