There will be a renewed push to promote good employment and workplace practices in the region, after the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) extended their partnership.

Both parties renewed an agreement on Wednesday to enhance the capacities of social partners in ILO and Asean member states.

The agreement will also promote the Decent Work Agenda and aspects of the Asean regional integration process, said MOM yesterday.

Decent work refers to work opportunities that are productive and deliver a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, among other safeguards. The ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member states to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all.

The agreement between ILO and MOM was first signed in June 2011, and renewed in 2014 and 2016. Its latest renewal was finalised in consultation with the workers’ and employers’ organisations of Singapore, MOM added.

To strengthen the Asean regional integration process, there will be an exchange of knowledge, with joint activities such as a sub-regional workshop on the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention next month, as well as the 11th Asean Forum on Migrant Labour in October.

The latest agreement was signed at the 107th International Labour Conference (ILC) in Switzerland by Ms Tomoko Nishimoto, ILO assistant director-general and regional director for Asia and the Pacific, and permanent secretary for manpower Aubeck Kam.

“Our fruitful cooperation has benefited the region’s development, by integrating the three dimensions of sustainability – economic, social and environmental – in our joint activities,” said Ms Nishimoto. “While advancing social justice… this renewed partnership will also contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Asia. ”

Mr Kam said working with ILO enables Singapore to share its belief in tripartism with the Asia-Pacific, and contribute to promoting decent work for all in the region.

Singapore’s delegation to the ILC was led by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo. It also included president of the National Trades Union Congress Mary Liew, NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng, and Singapore National Employers Federation president Robert Yap.

On Tuesday, Mrs Teo delivered a speech outlining efforts that Singapore has taken to empower women in pursuing their career and familial aspirations – such as by doubling Singapore’s childcare places and encouraging more employers to offer flexible work arrangements. By Seow Bei Yi


The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the ASEAN Trade Union Council.