Workers' rights

Reducing Vulnerability in Lao People's Democratic Republic: Advancing Social Protection and Labour Rights and Entitlements in the Coffee and Tea Sectors (SOLAR)

The SOLAR project supports the government and civil society to promote labour rights and improve access to social security and occupational safety and health (OSH) for coffee and tea workers in Lao People's Democratic Republic.

Workers and households engaged in the coffee and tea sectors in Lao People's Democratic Republic’s Bolaven Plateau are mostly found in informal and vulnerable employment. It is often unpaid––in the form of contributing family work––and seasonal––to fill up vacant times and earn extra incomes. Workers are usually without proper employment contracts and social security coverage. They can be subject to labour rights violations, hazardous working conditions, violence and sexual harassment.

Funded by the European Union and jointly implemented by ILO and Oxfam, the SOLAR project works with informal workers in Bolaven Plateau. This region is responsible for 95 per cent of Lao coffee production and supplies markets in Asia, Europe and North America. Bolaven exports are seen as niche, quality products that can draw responsible consumers.

A participatory approach is at the core of the project’s activities. It strengthens service delivery on the government side, while raising awareness among workers and their representative individuals and organizations, and building capacities of civil society and grassroots stakeholders. It also strengthens collective mechanisms among workers, especially women, thus equipping them to better realize their labour rights.

Priority areas of work

Priority 1 - Social protection
  • Informal workers can advocate for their needs
  • Better enforcement of social security and labour rights
  • Recommendations for long-term policy and institutional change
Priority 2 - Occupational safety and health
  • Create core groups of OSH promoters
  • Expand partnerships from Champasack to Sekong and Salavan provinces
Priority 3 - Gender equality
  • Sensitivity about gender equality and sexual harassment in workplaces
  • Better organization and leadership of women in workplaces
  • Awareness of gender-based violence in communities
Priority 4 – Multi-stakeholder partnerships
  • Promote social dialogue and collective bargaining
  • Stronger partnerships among government, social partners and CSOs
  • New partnerships for informal workers, smallholder farmers and women

Direct beneficiaries

400 coffee and tea workers in Lao People's Democratic Republic prioritizing informal workers and women.

For further information please contact:

Ms Loveleen DE
Programme Manager
ILO in Lao People's Democratic Republic