Senior officials from labor and employment ministries of the ASEAN+3 countries gathered in Bali in the third ASEAN Labor Inspection Conference are to discuss ways to develop and explore partnerships enhancing work-place compliance through labor inspection.

A favored way to strengthen partnerships and improve country competencies in labor inspection is through developing guidelines.

At the opening of the two-day conference hosted by the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry, minister Muhaimin Iskandar said that member states shared the view that guidelines and good structural and operational models for effective and credible labor inspection in every workplace in all sectors of industries were required.

“We will develop guidelines that ASEAN member states could adapt to their respective national circumstances and context.

“We are hoping that through this conference, we could share good practices and experiences among ASEAN+3 countries in labor inspector capacity building, strengthening collaboration and exploring areas for technical cooperation.”

In the second ASEAN Labor Inspection Conference in Dong Nai, Vietnam, the countries agreed on the Dong Nai Action Plan. The document consists of actions to implement the Ha Long recommendations on Labor Inspection Cooperation for 2012-2015, which were agreed in the first conference in 2010.

Developing the guidelines is part of the recommendations stating that member states would promote regional cooperative partnership by strengthening the network of labor inspectorates, particularly with regard to systems and models.

In addition to developing guidelines and models for labor inspection, among the action points is that member states will review information on the number of labor inspectors to size of workforce, based on the circumstances of each country, to ensure sufficient resources are available.

Member states should also identify the practical gender barriers to entering inspectorates, where the number of women or men are low or out of balance.

Muhaimin said that the Indonesian government had taken some steps to ensure labor inspection practices were in accordance with international standards. The country has ratified ILO Convention no. 81/1941 through the 2003 Law on Labor Inspection in Industry and Trade.

The government is also to employ a greater number of labor inspectors in regencies and municipalities, up from the current 2,600 persons nationwide to 3,500 by next year.

“There are still many aspects in labor inspection that we need to improve in order to enhance our competitiveness in the face of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015,” Muhaimin said, calling on companies in the country to implement a proper standard of labor inspection.

Muji Handaya, the ministry’s director general for training and supervision of workers, said that this year, the ministry had completed the training of eight generations of labor inspectors.

On the first day of the conference, representatives of each member state gave presentations to share their experiences. Representatives from the ILO, IALI, trade unions and employer associations also shared their views.

On the second day, there will be a discussion to formulate recommendations and a plan of action for the next collaboration on labor inspection. –Desy Nurhayati,