Dialogues with the ASEAN Committee on Migrant Workers (ACMW) and Governments of ASEAN Member States, lobbying of governments on key priority issues and promotion of services to migrant workers and their employers highlighted the key areas of joint actions between the ASEAN Trade Union Council (ATUC) and the ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE) in their Joint Statement during their second meeting on 4-5 April 2019 in Manila, Philippines.
The meeting was a follow up to the First Joint Dialogue between the two organizations in March 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand. This meeting focused on the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ASEAN Consensus) and its Action Plan to identify areas of shared commitments and actions for its implementation.
ATUC and ACE further recommended strengthening tripartite social dialogue mechanisms in the formulation and implementation of laws, policies and programmes to realize the ASEAN Consensus principles and commitments and allowing tripartite participation in monitoring and evaluating implementation of the ASEAN Consensus and its Action Plan at national level.
Key priority issues for joint lobbying of governments included implementing pre-departure and post-arrival orientation, strengthening reintegration of returning migrant workers, reducing recruitment fees and related costs for both migrant workers and employers, speeding up implementation of skills certification and mutual recognition and ensuring migrant workers access to social protection and enable portability of benefits, among other key priority issues.
On the other hand, joint promotion of services to migrant workers and their employers included raising awareness of migrant workers and their employers on their rights and responsibilities, facilitating access to support services and grievance mechanisms and collecting and disseminating good practices on the recruitment and employment of migrant workers.
The workers’ representatives designated CTUM (Myanmar) President and ATUC Vice President Maung Maung as ATUC spokesperson during the consolidation of priorities of workers and employers in the Joint Statement. For instance, he defended the retention of labour inspection as part of the statement on effective laws and policies on labour migration governance.
In the opening session, ATUC General Secretary Ruben Torres recalled the historic First ACE-ATUC Joint Meeting and reiterated the ATUC commitment to work with ACE on doable labour migration concerns. ACE President Ancheta Tan emphasized workers and employers cooperation in the ASEAN processes.
Also in the opening session, ILO Manila Director Khalid Hassan highlighted the significance of this event as the ILO celebrates its 100th year which puts social dialogue on the spotlight. Stephen Weaver from the Embassy of Canada to the Philippines expressed optimism as Canada sees strong partnership and social dialogue on labour migration through the Government of Canada funded TRIANGLE in ASEAN.
In the closing session, Rene Soriano of ACE congratulated ATUC and ACE for hurdling differences in coming up with a Joint Statement on the ASEAN Consensus while ATUC President Abdul Halim Mansor credited the success of the meeting as ongoing contribution especially on labour migration of ATUC and ACE to the ASEAN motto of “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
Regional and national representatives of ATUC and ACE from 10 ASEAN Member States attended the meeting.
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