ASEAN labor officials met in Bangkok on 30-31 March 2009, within the framework of the ASEAN Senior Labor Officials Meeting and the SLOM Working Group on Progressive Labor Practices to Enhance the Competitiveness of ASEAN. The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Labor.
At the opening ceremony, the Deputy Permanent Secretary for Labor, Pornchai Yooprayong, emphasized the importance of the Working Group, which would contribute to the progress of labor standards and enhance labor capacity in the region. Its meeting provided an opportunity for labor officials to discuss measures to mitigate the impacts of the current financial crisis, particularly on workers in ASEAN.
The SLOM Working Group was reconstituted from an ad hoc working group into a permanent grouping reporting to SLOM at the 20th ASEAN Labor Ministers’ Meeting and a Preparatory Senior Labor Officials Meeting held in Bangkok on 6-8 May 2008.
The Working Group discussed the follow-up on the projects implemented or completed since the Working Group was first established in 2006 as an ad hoc working group.
The discussion served as the basis for the Working Group’s adoption of its work plan. The outcomes of the meeting would be presented to the 6th SLOM, preceding the 21st ASEAN Labor Ministers’ Meeting, in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic from 12 to 14 May 2009.
It was pointed out at the 20th ASEAN Labor Ministers’ Meeting that the present challenges to ASEAN countries were not due to the absence of economic activities but rather to the unproductiveness and underutilization of the workforce. Employment generation in ASEAN was mostly in the informal sector, which was normally characterized by a high degree of vulnerability.