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Report on ITUC Asia-Pacific Regional Pre-International Labor Conference

Organised by International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

March 28-29, 2013 Godavari

Introduction

The present structural crisis in the world political economy has its roots in the regulatory failure of state system. This crisis marks the reflection of inadequate public policy response, a crisis which cannot be solved without systemic understanding and reforming the barriers to production, distribution, and establishing the dignity of labor. The structures that bred the crisis cannot be isolated from interest and actions of the powerful economic actors and their short-term rationality in the maximization of profit at the cost of labor and nature. The flip sides of globalization are: increasing poverty, income disparity, unemployment and informalization of economy disabling both unions and nation-states to fulfill their social obligations.

In this context, a democratic response to global economic policy requires buffer role of nation-states and reforms in income distribution, real wages, social security, agriculture-based industrial development, fiscal discipline, rights of migrant labor and an adaptation to climate change as they are the keys to remove misery and resolve livelihoods problems. National crisis has its roots in the global development paradigm that is based on efficiency, status and strength rather than negotiated consensus and mutual accountability of the capital and the labor to minimize losers of economic game through social solidarity and collective action.

The solution lies in pro-active solidarity of ITUC, unions and worker-friendly civil society aiming to negotiate a new social contract through structural reforms and making the workers stakeholders of democracy, development and social peace. Stable industrial relations require reasoned dialogues and compromise of interests with the changing human condition at multi-level governance, democratic checks and bring politics back to reshape ecological, social and economic policies. FES, based on its founding vision, seeks to spread the ideals of freedom, social justice, solidarity and peace. They are also the ideals of ITUC and labor movements worldwide struggling to raise voice of millions of workers to ameliorate their condition, dignity of labor and gender equality.

Participation

Twenty-seven participants from 15 countries representing Australia, Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Belgium attended the two-day meeting. Among them 11 participants were women. Two resource persons from ITUC facilitated the meeting on domestic workers, HIV/Aids, education and training of focal points using OECD guidelines on Multi-National Corporation and ILO Recommendation No. 200 concerning national floors for social protection. The program has been organized concerning the preparation for ILC meeting in 2013. The meeting also reviewed the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendation 1013 Report.

Corrective Action

Four crucial agenda were discussed pertaining to workers' welfare.

Review of ITUC global 12x12 campaigns for rights, fair pay and protection for domestic workers and ILO Recommendation No.200 concerning national floors for social protection. "Social protection floors are nationally defined sets of basic social security guarantees which secure protection aimed at preventing or alleviating poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion. This new international labor standard aims at extending essential health care and basic income security to millions of people."The issue of HIV/AIDS is common issue in every workplace that threatens every aspect of the ILO Decent Work Agenda and, therefore, it has mainstreamed HIV/AIDS throughout its activities even in the ILO Decent Country Programs. Health and education are key indicators of workers' efficiency in wealth-creation. Human development is related to social and economic factors of progress.

The skill training and education to the contact points on using OECD guidelines is essential to make workers adjust and fit for new job opportunities and real life-choices. In the new economy, constant updating of information and skills are crucial to build the capacity of workers to adjust to technological and economic change and reap benefits from the changing nature of labor markets. In this context, social solidarity is crucial to break the structure-bound economy at various levels and instill belief in the values of justice, freedom and peace. The belief in reason and compromise, not coercion, is the cardinal politics labor unions.

Remarks

Creation of a just system rests on creating mutual stake of social stakeholders, not monopoly of power and resources by the owners of capital while the cost is borne by the workers. The current workshop expected to create constructive feedbacks on various policy measures for communicating across various countries with different development paths and defined national priority of action on many of the global norms and policies favoring workers' welfare, address their problems through solidarity action and generate opportunity to participate in the every spheres of society. Some of the national priorities defined for each country for lobby are: Fiji Article 87, Korea Article 111, Malaysia Article 29, Pakistan Article 81, Cambodia Article 87, Indonesia Article 182, Philippines Article 87, Bangladesh Article 87, Nepal Article 29 and Japan Article 29 of ILO. The participants also agreed to build solidarity across the unions to exert pressure on the government to implement the measures they have formulated.

 
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