As 2020 draws to an end, the tripartite partners in the ASEAN region convened to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers and businesses in the region at the 11th edition of the ASEAN Regional Tripartite Social Dialogue Conference held on the 17 and 18 December.
The event was jointly organised by the ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC), the ASEAN Senior Labour Officials Meeting (SLOM), the ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE), ASEAN Secretariat, and with the full assistance of the host Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) Viet Nam and the support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Germany.
Bro. Mohamed Shafie BP Mammal, President of ASETUC, welcome all the participants and expressed appreciation for the cooperation of ACE, and the Viet Nam government as the chair of ASEAN in 2020, to hold the conference virtually for the first time ever. Being an online event, it allowed more participation from union leaders in the services sector across the region to observe the proceedings.
The conference saw a fruitful evaluation of the tripartite stakeholders’ responses to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on the business community and workers. Contributions from representatives of the UNESCAP and the ILO enriched the discussions and strengthened the view for the need for better social protection coverage in the region.
UNI Apro Regional Secretary Rajendra Acharya contributed to evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on workers in the region. He shared observations of the accelerated transition toward digitalisation and the need to expand social protection to the precarious and informal workers during the pandemic. He finally encouraged the conference to recognise the contribution of all essential workers by implementing concrete measures that enhance their rights to better conditions and safety at work.
The participants agreed that strengthening social partnership in the COVID-19 pandemic is central to building a people-centred ASEAN, and reaffirmed the commitment to share responsibility and work in solidarity to deliver a healthier, kinder, more equitable future for all in the ASEAN region.