A collective effort is required to tackle labour enforcement challenges, to address errant recruitment practices and trafficking of persons against a backdrop of mutual cooperation and a gradual return to normalcy post-pandemic, Minister of Home Affairs Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ahmaddin bin Haji Abdul Rahman said.
The initiative on the establishment of ASEAN Labour Inspection Committee (ALICOM) reflects the importance of multilateral cooperation among labour inspectorates in the spirit of strategic partnerships in which Brunei had hosted the first inaugural session of the ALICOM on December 15, 2021, he said.
The minister shared these views during the 27th ASEAN Labour Ministers Meeting (ALMM) in the Philippines.
The minister also attended the 12th ASEAN Plus Three Labour Ministers Meeting (ALMM+3).
The meetings were held in Bonifacio Global City, Metro Manila, the Philippines on October 28 and 29.
Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ahmaddin also shared his views on 27th ALMM’s theme ‘Together as One: Reshaping the World of Work in the ASEAN Community through Digitalised, Inclusive and Sustainable Recovery and Growth’.
“The pandemic from 2020 to 2021 has had resounding impacts on the global community which has been heightened by unprecedented economic decline, where it becomes imperative that we re-emerge from such challenges with readiness and adaptability in mind. It is timely for ASEAN’s path towards digitalisation and inclusive, sustainable growth in the regional world of work.”
The minister also shared Brunei’s initiatives in collaboration with other agencies to provide training services in several sectors including tourism, food and beverages sectors, emphasising employment and local capacity building particularly on information technology related with a stronger focus on Industrial Revolution 4.0 skills.
This year’s ALMM theme focusses on three pillars – promoting ICT and digitalisation; modernising agriculture for food security and employment growth; and efficient and inclusive human resource development.
The theme also highlights the challenges of enabling people across ASEAN member states (AMS) to effec-tively adapt to the rapid transformations in society and in the world of work while adhering to the universal goal of growth that is inclusive and that leaves no one behind.
With the continuing impacts of climate change, the fourth and fifth industrial revolutions, the COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, the disruptions in food and energy supply, strengthened cooperation and complementation among the AMS is key in advancing the vision of One ASEAN Community for workers, their families and the societies in which they live.
Secretary of Labour and Employment of the Philippines Bienvenido E Lagues-ma chaired the meeting.
During the 27th ALMM, ASEAN labour ministers endorsed the ASEAN Declaration on Portability of Social Security Benefits for Migrant Workers in ASEAN for adoption by the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit.
The declaration highlights AMS’ commitment to a smooth and fair transition of social security benefits that migrant workers are entitled from countries of employment to their home countries.
ASEAN labour ministers also adopted the ASEAN Guidelines on HIV Counselling and Testing in the Workplace for the greater involvement of the business community in developing and implementing policies and programmes to ensure the protection of workers’ rights and further create a productive, safe and inclusive workplace.
The 27th ALMM also endorsed the establishment of the ALICOM in 2021 and adopted its 2022-2030 Work Plan.
The ALICOM aims to strengthen the effectiveness of labour inspection through multilateral initiatives and cooperation between labour inspectorates of the ASEAN members.
The ASEAN labour ministers commended the deepened ASEAN cooperation on labour and employment in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the 12th ALMM+3 on October 29, ASEAN labour ministers with their counterparts from China, Japan and Korea reiterated the importance of the ASEAN Plus Three collective in labour cooperation towards the long-term goal of building a resilient East Asia community.
Prior to the 27th ALMM, senior labour officials attended the 18th Senior Labour Officials Meeting (SLOM) and 20th ASEAN Plus Three SLOM (SLOM+3) meetings on October 25 and 26.
During the meetings, SLOM representatives discussed the progress of work as well as the achievements of the past year of the main technical ASEAN labour bodies: SLOM-WG, ACMW and ASEAN-OSHNET.
The outcomes of discussions between the ASEAN labour ministers as well as senior officials from the Plus Three countries of China, Japan and Korea were consolidated in the form of the Joint Communique of the 27th ALMM and the Joint Statement of the 12th ALMM+3.
The 19th SLOM and 21st SLOM+3 will be hosted by Brunei Darussalam in 2023.
The meetings were also attended by Permanent Secretary (Safety and Welfare) at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) Salminan bin Haji Burut, Commissioner of Labour Muhd Saufi bin Haji Ibrahim and officers from the MoHA and Labour Department.