ACN works with ILO to promote decent work in ASEAN

ACN's CEO Mr Thomas Thomas (middle) met with ILO's Director General Mr Guy Ryder (right) on 13 June 2018 in Singapore to discuss the promotion of the Decent Work agenda in the region and on safe migration of labour.

ASEAN’s rapid rise over the past few decades has been driven primarily by what can be called Factory Asia. As one of the world’s largest workshops, the region provided cheap and abundant labour, producing many of the consumer goods the world demands. While the AEC will provide greater mobility for workers, so far the discussions have been focused on skilled workers and professionals in specific sectors. The bigger challenge of protecting the rights of the majority of workers, particularly migrant workers, in the region in semi- and low-skilled sectors is yet to be addressed. If proper labour protection measures are not followed, ASEAN expansion, especially expansion of the manufacturing industry and related sectors, may only serve to further worsen the wealth and income inequality in the region, with the poor losing out on an opportunity to uplift their lives.

ACN is committed to work with ILO and partners to address this social challenge by socialising and supporting the implementation of the ASEAN Guidelines for CSR on Labour and promoting the ILO’s Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy. We are a Founding Member of the ILO Global Business Network on Forced Labour and Human Trafficking, a collaborative forum convened by the ILO for companies, employer organisations, and business networks to come together with the ultimate aim of leveraging comparative advantages and collective action towards the elimination of forced labour and human trafficking.

As an ASEAN Entity and ASEAN Business Advisory Council's Sectorial Champion for Responsible and Inclusive Business, ACN is strategically positioned to promote the resposible business agenda, which include advocating for measures to mitigate forced labour issues, to businesses and political leadership in the ASEAN region. We aim to contribute to the understanding on how businesses in ASEAN can address modearn day slavery, forced labour and human trafficking. This specifcally refers to the role of businesses to proactively mitigate the risk of modern slavery taking place in their operations and supply chain, and how to effectively  respond to discovered cases of slavery.