Lao Garment Project: Project launched in the Lao People's Democratic Republic

A new project to improve working conditions and competitiveness in the Lao garment sector was officially launched.

Press release | Lao People's Democratic Republic | 31 March 2015
(ILO NEWS) Vientiane – A new project to improve working conditions and competitiveness in the Lao garment sector was officially launched today.

The project, ‘Improving the Garment Sector in Lao PDR: Compliance through Inspection and Dialogue’ is being implemented by the Government of Lao PDR with support from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank.

The garment sector is Lao PDR’s largest manufacturing employer and makes a significant contribution to annual national exports. Around 30,000 workers are employed by about 60 exporting factories and 45 subcontracting firms, with production mainly in and around the capital, Vientiane.

Garment workers are mostly women under 25 from outside Vientiane. Most have limited understanding of their contractual rights and obligations. Garment sector employers identify labour supply as their most significant constraint.

The project aims to improve working conditions, productivity and competitiveness in the Lao garment manufacturing sector by strengthening the national labour inspection system to ensure compliance with national labour laws, in line with international labour standards. The project will also work to improve workers’ and employers’ understanding of the labour law and their role in ensuring good working conditions. The main government counterparts of the project include the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

The launch took place in Vientiane on Thursday 26 March and was chaired by H.E. Ms. Baykham Khattiya, Vice-Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. The ILO was represented by Mr Maurizio Bussi, Officer-in-Charge of the ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR and Director of the ILO Decent Work Team for East and South-East Asia and the Pacific.

Speaking at the launch Mr Bussi said: ”This project will be an integral part of the ILO Decent Work Country Program Lao PDR 2011-2015 and is in line with the ILO’s global objective to promote Decent Work as a means to achieve sustainable development, poverty reduction and social justice worldwide. Undoubtedly many challenges will confront us, but be sure that the ILO stands ready and committed to providing its support for strengthening labour law compliance in this key economic sector using the ILO’s tripartite approach”.