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ASEAN cooperation on labour is led by the ASEAN Labour Ministers Meeting (ALMM) which meets every two years and is supported by the Senior Labour Officials Meeting (SLOM).
The ALMM had adopted the new ASEAN Labour Ministers (ALM) Work Programme 2016-2020 at the 24th ALMM on 15 May 2016 in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The ALM Work Programme 2016-2020 sets out the objective toward "a better quality of life for ASEAN people through workforce with enhanced competitiveness and engaged in safe and decent work derived from productive employment, harmonious and progressive workplace, and adequate social protection." The ALM Work Programme covers four Key Result Areas of skilled and adaptable workforce; productive employment; harmonious, safe and progressive workplace; and expanded social protection. These have been translated into 23 thematic areas that are being addressed by SLOM and its three Subsidiary Bodies.
SLOM has established three Subsidiary Bodies namely:
(i) Senior Labour Officials Meeting Working Group on Progressive Labour Practices to Enhance the Competitiveness of ASEAN (SLOM-WG)
SLOM-WG was first established in 2006 as an Ad-Hoc Working Group and was reconstituted as a permanent body under SLOM in 2008 and has its first Work Plan. SLOM-WG focuses its efforts on thematic areas including labour market information system, skills development, skills recognition, promotion of inclusive employment, labour inspection, social protection for workers, productivity of workers in informal workers, capacity building on tripartism and labour dispute and labour justice.
SLOM-WG has actively been implementing various projects and activities that strengthen capacities of ASEAN Member States to promote welfare and competitiveness of ASEAN workforce. These include seminars and workshops on social security, work-life harmony, employment dispute settlement and decent work. SLOM-WG has also developed and published standard setting guidelines including ASEAN Guidelines on Good Industrial Relations Practices and the ASEAN Guidelines for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on Labour.
Since 2010, SLOM-WG also convenes the ASEAN Labour Inspection Conference on regular basis. The Conference has served as important platform to share information, knowledge and experiences, promote professionalism and build network among labour inspectorates and labour inspectors in ASEAN.
(ii) ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW)
On 13 January 2007, the ASEAN Leaders signed the landmark ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migration Workers, also known as the Cebu Declaration, at the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu, the Philippines. As a follow-up action, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers called for the establishment of the ASEAN Committee on the implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) which will report to SLOM. The Statement adopted at the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on 30 July 2007 in Manila, the Philippines sets out two purposes of the ACMW, notably:
Subsequently, the 1st Meeting of the ACMW was convened in September 2008 in Singapore and the first work plan was subsequently developed.
The ACMW has conducted several projects and activities that enhance capacity and awareness of government officials to protect and promote rights of migrant workers. Several capacity building and knowledge sharing workshops have been held on various issues such as safe migration, labour dimension of trafficking in persons, malpractices in recruitment, and overseas employment administration. Each year since 2008, the ACMW hosts the ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML) which is the region's biggest forum that brings together government officials from 10 ASEAN Member States, workers' organisations, employers' organisations and civil society organisations at national and regional levels, the ASEAN Secretariat, and international organisations (International Labour Organization, International Organization for Migration and UN Women) to discuss and exchange views on various issues relating to the rights of intra-ASEAN migrant workers.
(iii) ASEAN Occupational Safety and Health Network (ASEAN-OSHNET)
ASEAN-OSHNET was established through the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the ASEAN-OSHNET which was signed by ASEAN Member States in conjunction with the first ASEAN-OSHNET Coordinating Board Meeting on 2-3 August 2000 in Indonesia. The ASEAN-OSHNET was then officially launched on 16 February 2001 at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia. ASEAN OSHNET aims to promote cooperation in improving occupational safety and health (OSH) in the workplace in the ASEAN region. It also serves as a platform to exchange experience and information in the field of OSH standards, training, research, OSH inspection and national framework. In 2014, the scope of ASEAN-OSHNET extends to include HIV prevention and control in the workplace following the deliberation of the 10th SLOM on 19-20 May 2014 to subsume the SLOM's Working Group on the HIV Prevention and Control in the Workplace (SLOM-WG-HIV) under ASEAN-OSHNET to streamline the issue of HIV prevention and control in the workplace under the realm of occupational health.
ASEAN-OSHNET engages business sector in promoting various aspects of occupational safety and health in the workplace. The ASEAN-OSHNET Awards is given to enterprises and SMEs from ASEAN Member States who are nominated biannually for their excellent achievements in improving safety and health in the workplace.
The only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919, the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. Brunei Darussalam officially became a constituent of the ILO on 17 January 2007 and since then has ratified 2 Fundamental Conventions:
Brunei Darussalam is Member State of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Department of Labour is focal agency for the Islamic Conference of Labour Ministers.
Brunei Darussalam is a partner country of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the Department of Labour is focal agency for the ASEM Labour & Employment Ministers' Conference.
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