Decent Work

Government, employers and trade unions set Decent Work priorities for Myanmar until 2021

Myanmar’s first Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) set to promote employment, protect labour rights and strengthen social dialogue.

Press release | 21 September 2018
Nay Pyi Taw (ILO News) – Protecting fundamental labour rights, improving safety at work and social protection, as well as promoting social dialogue are amongst the priorities which the Union Government of Myanmar, employers and workers organizations will work towards in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) until 2021.

These areas have been included in the first Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) for Myanmar which was signed today in Nay Pyi Taw at a ceremony presided by H.E. U Thein Swe, Union Minister of Labour, Immigration and Population and Mr Greg Vines, ILO Deputy Director-General.

The DWCP was also signed by the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM), the Myanmar Industries, Crafts and Services (MICS) trade union, and the Agricultural Farmers Federation of Myanmar (AFFM) representing the workers’ groups. The Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) signed the document on behalf of the employers.

H.E. U Thein Swe, Union Minister of Labour, Immigration and Population, Mr Greg Vines, ILO Deputy Director-General and Myanmar social partners. / © ILO

Advancing Decent Work and Sustainable Development

The new programme has been framed against the backdrop of Myanmar’s transition to democracy and the rule of law, economic opening and social reform, as well as efforts to achieve peace and national reconciliation in a country that is one of the most ethnically diverse in the world.

H.E. U Thein Swe, Myanmar Union Minister of Labour, Immigration and Population / © ILO
Speaking at the signing event, Union Minister for Labour, Immigration and Population, H.E. U Thein Swe said: “Myanmar is fully committed to ILO’s Decent Work agenda and is keen to implement its first DWCP together with our social partners. With the support of the ILO, we will not only succeed in attaining the envisaged goals and activities of this important programme, but we will also send a strong message the world that Myanmar is ready to address the various decent work challenges through a tripartite approach that includes representatives from the Government, employers and workers.”

Decent Work Country Programmes (DWCPs) are the main framework for delivering ILO’s support to countries, and are focussed on a number of priorities and outcomes.

The Myanmar 2018-2021 plan was developed through a long consultation process by the National Tripartite Dialogue Forum (NTDF) – which is the peak body for social dialogue between Government, employers and workers organizations in Myanmar.

“The development of Myanmar’s first DWCP represents a major step for ILO’s engagement in Myanmar in support of the tripartite partners. Much progress has been made in many areas, yet certain challenges and gaps still need to be addressed, including for the elimination of forced labour,” stressed ILO’s Deputy Director-General Greg Vines. “The ILO was founded 100 years ago on a vision of how promoting social justice was essential for achieving democracy and peace. That message has never been more relevant for Myanmar”.

Commenting on the signing of the DWCP, the Secretary General of CTUM, U Than Lwin, said: “Much still needs to be done to strengthen freedom of association but, with the support of the ILO, we hope this new plan will bring the changes we have long struggled for”.

“We employers welcome the Decent Work Country Program for Myanmar. It took nearly two years for the tripartite constituents to come to this state, but now the DWCP is fully aligned with the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan as well as the global SDGs. If accomplished, it will do good for the world of business and the world of work”, stressed U Thein Han, Vice President and Chair of the Industrial Relations Committee of UMFCCI.

Myanmar’s DWCP is aligned with the national goals of the Government, as well as with the broader UN sustainable development agenda. Its implementation is based on partnership between government, employers and workers as well as technical assistance from the ILO and support from international donors.

Priorities of Myanmar’s Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) 2018-2021:

  • To generate employment and decent work as well as sustainable entrepreneurship opportunities to all, including for vulnerable populations affected by conflict and disaster;
  • To strengthen the application of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work through improved labour market governance. The ILO’s long-standing work for the elimination of forced labour will remain a core component of the plan;
  • To progressively extend social protection coverage especially for vulnerable workers and populations, and develop a comprehensive national system for occupational safety and health;

For more information, please contact:

Marco Minocri, Communications Consultant, ILO Liaison Office in Myanmar