Points for Discussion
The Fourteenth Asian Regional Meeting will provide a regional platform for the sharing of experiences and the identification of practical steps forward to realize decent work in Asia. The ILO constituents have identified five key areas which they wish to focus on at the Fourteenth Asian Regional Meeting. The points for discussion of these key areas in parallel sessions at the Fourteenth Asian Regional Meeting are proposed below:
Competitiveness, productivity and decent jobs in a globalizing context
This session will highlight the jobs crisis Asia and the world is facing and the increasing importance placed on the promotion of decent work – by referring, inter alia, to Paragraph 47 of the World Summit Outcome document, the World Economic Forum 2006 discussion in Davos, the International Labour Conference Discussion on changing patterns in the world of work and the high-level segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) meeting in July 2006. The discussion could cover:
- Concerns regarding competitiveness, productivity and jobs in the region, including the implications of the rising importance of China and India and other important global developments;
- The importance of productivity gains for sustained poverty eradication and competitiveness;
- How can a virtuous circle of competitiveness, productivity and creation of decent jobs best be achieved? How can countries best keep on the “high road”, including respect for fundamental rights and freedoms at workplaces, to create more decent jobs? What are the particular economic sectors that should be emphasized? How can trainability and employability of the labour force be enhanced?
The Millennium generation: decent jobs for young people
This session will focus on the Millennium generation – the world’s young people who will be entering the labour force for the first time this century, 60 per cent of whom are in Asia. The most worrying aspect of the current jobs deficit is its impact on young people. The session will refer to the Millennium Declaration and the establishment of the Youth Employment Network (YEN), the 2005 International Labour Conference general discussion on Youth: pathways to decent work and the priority placed on youth employment in the ILO Programme and Budget 2006-07 and in the Decent Work Country Programmes of many countries in the region. The discussion could cover:
- The experiences and lessons learned by the YEN lead countries;
- Examples of efforts by trade unions and corporate social responsibility initiatives to promote youth employment: what have been the factors for success and/or the problems encountered?
- Intergenerational issues from a life cycle perspective – why is it important to link measures for youth employment to measures to reduce child labour and promote education for all? Are there initiatives that could fruitfully bring together the experience and resources of older workers and the energy and innovation of the young?
- What experiences and lessons learned can regional organizations share on youth employment?
Labour migration: regional strategy towards implementation of the ILO multilateral framework
This session will consider how the Asian region could give effect to the resolution passed unanimously by the International Labour Conference in June 2004 calling for a “non-binding, rights-based” multilateral framework that would include principles for managing labour migration based on best practices. The discussion on the management of labour migration so as to benefit both sending and receiving countries and better protect the rights and equal treatment of migrant workers could address the following issues:
- What experiences and lessons learned can participants share on policies and programmes to protect migrant workers? What can be done to curb irregular migration and to better protect vulnerable migrant workers, especially women and children, from trafficking?
- Are there successful government-to-government agreements on cross-border movements of labour? What were the criteria for judging success?
- What are the measures used to encourage efficiency in recruitment and to minimize fraud, abuses and malpractices by recruitment agents? Would it be helpful to develop a code of practice for recruitment agencies?
- What experiences and lessons learned can participants share on measures to promote the safe and efficient flow and effective use of migrant remittances?
- What are some good examples or experiences of workers’ and employers’ organizations with regard to the protection of migrant workers?
Labour market governance for realizing decent work in Asia
This session will discuss the need to adapt or modernize labour market governance to make decent work a reality. The ILO’s international labour standards serve as points of reference for other labour market governance mechanisms. But there is still uncertainty and controversy surrounding some labour market reform issues. It is therefore important to consider:
- What are the concerns or anxieties of workers and employers vis-à-vis labour law reform, and how can these concerns be addressed?
- What experiences and lessons learned can participants share on efforts to find an effective balance between flexibility, stability and security? What are successful examples of “flexisecurity”?
- In addition to labour law reform, what are the essential elements for adapting or modernizing labour market governance? From the experience of participants, what is the role and importance of the following in labour market governance: collective bargaining and social dialogue, effective social protection systems, active labour market policies, reform and improvement of labour administration, corporate social responsibility initiatives?
- What are the most essential needs for strengthening the capacity of employers’ and workers’ organizations so that they can play a more effective role in labour market governance?
- What experiences and lessons learned can participants share on regional cooperation efforts to adapt or modernize labour market governance, in particular in the context of global production systems?
Extending social protection
Social protection is a key element of decent work, and reform of social protection systems must accompany reform of labour market regulations to protect workers against the insecurities associated with flexibility and to make adjustment to labour market changes as painless as possible. There is a wide range of issues underlying the broader discussion of social protection, including the need to provide for “portability” of entitlements as workers become increasingly mobile, moving between successive jobs throughout their working lives. Therefore, the session on labour market governance could also discuss:
- What are the major constraints in efforts to extend social protection to the urban informal economy, small enterprises and rural sector? What experiences and lessons learned can participants share on efforts where:
- Informal economy workers have successfully established their own viable social protection schemes;
- Local and community initiatives have been linked to national schemes;
- Workers have access to social protection even where there is no clear employer-employee relationship;
- Social dialogue has played an important role in the extension of social protection;
- Benefits have been portable across schemes;
- Social protection is extended to migrant workers.