Regional Conference on the Future of Work in Asia

ILO calls all Asia stakeholders to build an inclusive and sustainable future of work

Addressing the regional conference on the Future of Work in Asia held in Singapore, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder welcomed ASEAN Labour Ministers' initiative on the future of work as “a legacy of the ILO Centenary”.

News | 29 April 2019
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder
SINGAPORE (ILO News) – “We have the power – and the responsibility- to work together to shape the future of work that truly leaves nobody behind” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder at the Singapore Conference on the Future of Work 2019: Embracing Technology; Inclusive Growth, jointly organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Ministry of Manpower (MOM) of Singapore, Singapore National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) on 29-30 April 2019.

“We have the potential to work together to drive a human-centred agenda for the future of work. What does this mean? It means directing economic and social policy making in a way that places women and men and the work that they do at the center,” Guy Ryder told Governments’, Workers’ and Employers’ representatives from Asia, gathered to discuss the report of the ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work: Work for a brighter future.

On the opening night of the Conference, Singapore’s Finance Minister stressed the importance of international cooperation to promote long-term sustainable development to the audience that included ASEAN delegates. Mr Heng Swee Keat said “As we become more interdependent and interconnected, it is even more important for countries and international organisations to work together to tackle complex and transnational challenges within rules-based, multilateral framework, and to build a more peaceful and prosperous world.”

ASEAN Labour Ministerial meeting
The conference followed the adoption of a statement by the ASEAN Ministers of Labour welcoming the ILO’s Future of Work Centenary Initiative and the Global Commission’s report and reaffirming their shared commitment to address common challenges facing the ASEAN community in promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all, in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“We warmly welcome the joint ASEAN statement on the Future of Work. It is the first such statement by a regional grouping in the framework of the ILO’s Future of Work centenary initiative,” said ILO director General Guy Ryder, also encouraging the launch of a regional initiative for the Future of Work suggested by Singapore Minister for Manpower, Mrs Josephine Teo, as “a legacy of the ILO Centenary.”

Singapore Minister for Manpower, Mrs Josephine Teo
In her welcoming remarks, Josephine Teo underlined the importance of tripartism for a brighter future of work, stressing four key commitments needed: “Shared ownership of the future; Shared values in being both pro-worker and pro-business; Shared vision of an inclusive workforce and progressive workplaces; and Shared resources to address fresh challenges as one tripartite movement.”

“Our efforts today will determine whether our societies continue to progress, where our people get the chance to improve economic security, fulfil their human potential, enjoy social justice,” said Mrs Teo.

During the conference, tripartite delegates discussed the report’s recommendations presented by Ms Reema Nanavaty, from the Self-Employed Women Association (SEWA) and Member of the Global Commission on the Future of Work. They also exchanged perspectives on collective strategies to address the changing needs of work, achieve sustainable outcomes, on the role of social partnerships in promoting the use of technology and supporting inclusive growth and how to prepare workers for the future of work.

“Productivity and a fair and inclusive society require the collective effort of employers, the Government and the Labour Movement. The ILO, as a tripartite organization is in an excellent position to take the lead,” said Dr Robert Yap, President of SNEF.

“Economic growth is meaningful only if shared with our citizens, with our workers. This is the common mantra that drives us, whether we represent workers, employers or the government. We want to strengthen this tripartite relationship for the common good of our workers, our society, our country,” said Ng Chee Meng, Secretary-General of NTUC.

The two-day conference brought together over 700 delegates from the ASEAN Member States as well as ASEAN’s Plus Six dialogue partners and other countries in the region.

Contact for more information:

Laetitia Dard
ILO regional communication officer for Asia and the Pacific