ASEAN regional social dialogue

8th ASEAN regional tripartite social dialogue: Raising the bar of social partnership in an integrating ASEAN

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has arrived on the world stage. It has been hailed as a major regional economic bloc. The Asian Development Bank considers the ASEAN as the world's 7th largest economy. If present growth trends continue, the ASEAN shall be the fourth largest by 2050, the ADB added.

Recognizing the rights of migrant workers, both skilled and semi-skilled. the ASEAN Service Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC) formed in 2007, would like to
reiterate the need for ASEAN to reaffirm the rights of all migrant workers and hasten the adoption of the Instrument for Migrant Workers based on the 2007 ASEAN Declaration on the Rights of Migrant Workers. In a previous consultation, ASETUC already suggested that an ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)-style system can be adopted so that the Instrument can finally be adopted.

As to the skilled migrants and mobile professionals, the challenge is how to extend protection to them in terms of secure job contracts, portability of benefits, clearer terms and conditions of work and so on. The same policy issues and more also apply to the semi-skilled migrant workers, It should be pointed out that the logic of regional integration means that eventually, ASEAN shall develop one ASEAN labour market. If this is so, then there should be uniformity of labour standards and uniform enforcement of these standards all throughout the region.