The Centre for Economic and Social Development (CESD) recently attended the 3rd Stakeholders Forum on Labour Law Reform and Institutional Capacity Building in Nay Pyi Taw. Hosted by the International Labour Organization and sponsored by the European Union, the forum brought together a variety of stakeholders such as labour unions, business representatives, government ministries, and international organizations contributing to the ongoing labour reforms in Myanmar.
During the event, stakeholders reflected on Myanmar’s many successful labour policies since democratization began in 2011, reflecting upon policy successes such as the minimum wage law and subsequent wage setting process, as well as, the establishment of worker’s rights and protections. Distinguished speakers, U Thein Swe, Minister of Labour, Immigration, and Population (MoLIP), His Excellency Mr. Kristian Schmidt, EU Ambassador, and Mr. Greg Vines, Deputy Director-General of ILO Geneva, expressed their appreciation for dialogues such as the ILO forum, reflecting upon Myanmar’s progress. They also stated that further developments are within grasp due to the ongoing social dialogue between stakeholders. This message was a common theme during the event as representatives from each stakeholder expressed optimism and their commitment to further progress.
The conference covered a variety of topics from ongoing labour law reforms and development, to collective bargaining and its importance in sustainable industrial relations. One point of emphasis was placed on the importance of migrant workers to Myanmar. Nearly 5% of Myanmar’s people work abroad, mainly in Thailand and Malaysia, and send remittances home to their families. Stakeholders, especially government ministries and international organizations, stressed the importance of protecting these workers during their travel to and during their stay abroad. Stakeholders discussed their continued efforts to improve migrant’s well-being by promoting safe and legal immigration, opening Migrant Resource Centers, and reaching memorandums of understandings (MOUs) with host countries that protect Myanmar worker’s freedoms and rights.