atuc-promotion-and-protectionThe ASEAN Trade Union Council (ATUC), during its parallel meeting for the 26th ASEAN Summit on 22-23 April 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, adopted the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the ASEAN Agreement on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Workers.

Taking into consideration current labor market realities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, the Declaration puts forward ATUC recommendations in the light of visible decent work deficits, e.g. increasing inequality in incomes. The Declaration reiterates the importance of inclusion of a Social Charter in ASEAN free trade agreements and economic integration, which will eventually call for standardization of various labor standards and labor market policies within ASEAN, for inclusive and sustainable future.

ATUC welcomes the initiative to adopt a regional standard on workers’ rights in ASEAN. The ATUC Declaration points out that an ASEAN Agreement on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Workers should be built on the basis of the ILO Conventions, Recommendations, relevant international instruments, and decent work principles, in harmony with the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work; and that the “ATUC should be recognized by the ASEAN as a functioning social partner in building, monitoring and promoting such ASEAN labor standards.”

The ATUC Declaration calls on the ASEAN for a formal dialogue to discuss issues and challenges in the ASEAN labor market integration and Free Trade Agreements.

ATUC will hand over the ATUC Declaration to the SLOM Chair in the next ASEAN Senior Labor Officials Meeting (SLOM) on 6-8 May 2015 in Manila, Philippines.