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11st ASEAN Regional Tripartite Social Dialogue Conference held online

The 11th ASEAN Regional Tripartite Social Dialogue Conference was held virtually on December 17 by the Ministry of Labour Invalids and Social Affairs and the ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC).

Speaking at the conference, Director of the Department of International Cooperation under the MoLISA Nguyen Manh Cuong said 2020 is a special year with many changes due to COVID-19, which has affected the lives of millions of people in the world.

The conference is an important opportunity to propose sustainable solutions, collect ways to respond to the pandemic of ASEAN’s partners, and share labour-related issues.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), an estimated 81 percent  of the global workforce is currently affected by total or partial job loss. The crisis "wiped out" 12.1 percent of global working hours in the third quarter of 2020 - equivalent to 345 million full-time workers, including 185 million from Asia-Pacific.

The health crisis is affecting millions of companies worldwide, especially in the aviation, tourism, hospitality and retail sectors, Cuong said.

According to him, a joint statement was approved at the Special Meeting of ASEAN Labour Ministers on Response to the Impact of COVID-19 on Labour and Employment in May this year, which highlights actions to support migrant workers who are stranded in each other or in a third country.

Through their meetings, ASEAN member countries has worked together to respond to the effects of the pandemic by taking measures to maintain the health and livelihood of the people and accelerate the regional economic recovery, Cuong noted.

Mammal, Secretary General of ASETUC, said that ASEAN countries are also affected by global economic crisis and humanitarian disaster, which have had serious impacts on public health, socio-economy, employment and livelihoods of people. That is why ASEAN countries need to discuss how to build a cohesive and proactive ASEAN after the pandemic, he noted.

The event offers a chance to discuss measures towards overcoming challenges, he stressed.

Also at the conference, Rajendra Kumar Acharya, UNI Asia-Pacific Regional Secretary, said that the ASEAN region had an effective way to control the COVID- 19, however, problems still exist. ASEAN's comprehensive recovery framework is critical to enable sharing of related actions and programmes to ASEAN countries.

He said the pandemic crisis will have long-term impact on the labour market, job quality, wages, social security and labour safety. At the same time, more actions and dialogues are needed to join hands in resolving worker issues in the pandemic./