ASEAN Social Dialogue

Opening address at the 8th ASEAN Regional Tripartite Social Dialogue towards growth, employment and industrial relations

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the 8th ASEAN Regional Tripartite Social Dialogue towards growth, employment and industrial relations, Manila City, Philippines, 18 October 2017

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 18 October 2017
  • Secretary Bello together with officials of the Department of Labor and Employment,
  • Datuk Mohammed Shafie BP Mammal Secretary General of the ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC),
  • Atty. Tan, President of the ASEAN Conference of Employers,
  • ASEAN Deputy General Secretary Arthakaivalvatee of the ASEAN Secretariat,
  • Director Woltersdorf, Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia, Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, Singapore
  • Distinguished officials, guests and representatives from government agencies, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and civil society,
  • Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
The ILO congratulates the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Asean Service Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC), the ASEAN Secretariat; the ASEAN Confederation of Employers; and the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES) for successfully collaborating and convening the 8th Asean Regional Tripartite Social Dialogue. The ILO is indeed very honoured and glad to be part of this important conference.

Social dialogue is indeed very important to achieve inclusive growth, sustainable employment and strong industrial relations through decent work.

In many countries, including the Philippines, the challenge of jobless growth remains. The kind of growth that is inclusive and people-centred, leaving no one behind. Promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all is also part of the Sustainable Development Goals under Goal 8.

To achieve this, the voices of key actors and players in the real economy – government, workers and employers are vital through strong social dialogue and industrial relations.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, on its half-century of existence, has indeed come a long way. From initially coming together to resolve and avoid political conflicts in 1967, the ASEAN today has embraced the challenges of a more integrated world, a more competitive business environment and a more connected community of peoples.

Through its promotion of a people-centred ASEAN community, the world witnesses the strengthening of ASEAN’s three pillars: the economic, socio-cultural and political-security communities.

It is important today more than ever to stay true to the standards and guidelines that the ASEAN leaders have agreed in the past to bring about progressive, positive and consultative industrial relations in the ASEAN region.

Allow me to highlight what has been said under the ASEAN Guidelines on Good Industrial Relations Practices signed in 2010 that establishing a good industrial relations practices is an essential step to make ASEAN competitive and a choice destination of global investments.

But let me highlight as well that the ASEAN Guidelines draws from the ASEAN Charter the provision that puts people at the center: to respect their fundamental freedoms, to protect their human rights and promote social justice for all.

In laying the groundwork of a good industrial relations practices, as the Guidelines has stated, it is important to remain consistent to internationally recognized principles and standards, including the fundamental principles and rights at work, and the need to maintain the link between progress and economic growth.

I believe there is so much to draw from the 2010 ASEAN Guidelines on Good Industrial Practices particularly cornerstones cited of a harmonious and productive industrial relations. These cornerstones are:
  • having a sound legal framework;
  • respect for fundamental rights of employers and workers;
  • build bipartite cooperation and collaboration; building mutual trust and respect;
  • mutuality of purpose and benefits;
  • dignity of work and highlighting best practices;
  • good faith behaviour;
  • effective labour dispute settlement; and
  • tripartite partnership and social dialogue.
As the ASEAN and its social partners go forward in the next 50 years, the ILO welcomes the opportunity to be part of this dialogue as you discuss in this conference the situation of women and migrant workers; the movement of workers within the ASEAN labour market; and the changing nature of ASEAN public sector labour relations.

For sure we can find synergies and opportunities for continued partnership in our dialogue as the ILO engages our social partners on the issues of Future of Work, Green Jobs, Freedom of Association, Fair Migration, and Trade and Labour Standards.

Within the framework of social dialogue and tripartism, I believe it is significant for our social partners to find common grounds at the national and regional levels. It is through strong partnerships that we can achieve inclusive growth and make decent work a reality for all especially in the ASEAN.

Let me end by acknowledging the Philippines’ commitment for promoting of social dialogue in the public sector by ratifying ILO Convention 151, the first in Asia and the Pacific.

On this note, I wish you all the best and great success of this regional dialogue!

Thank you.