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Date: Fri, 1 May 98 10:18:32 CDT
From: rich@pencil.math.missouri.edu (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Asian Unions Call For Regional Social Action Plan
Article: 33693
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.13822.19980502121603@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

/** labr.global: 308.0 **/
** Topic: Asian Unions Call For Regional Social Action Plan **
** Written 9:27 PM Apr 30, 1998 by labornews in cdp:labr.global **

Asian unions call for regional social action plan

From ICFTU Online..., 096/980424/DD
24 April 1998

Brussels April 24 1998 (ICFTU OnLine): "Asia is standing on a watershed. In one direction lies social chaos and a further downward spiral in our economies, in the other lies a difficult new path, which blends social stability with the rigours of the global market," said Zainal Rampak, President of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress.

"This meeting must prepare the route map for us to follow through what is certain to be a challenging journey towards a common destination for Asia's social partners", he continued "ss it will require new relationships and institutions which command the confidence of working people, employers and governments".

Rampak was speaking on behalf of the Workers' Group at an International Labour Organisation Tripartite Meeting on Social Responses to the Financial Crisis in East and South East Asian Countries, which took place in Bangkok (22-24 April) (http://www.icftu.org/english/sclause/escl98ilobkmtg.htm.)

At the meeting he launched a union proposal for a comprehensive regional social action plan to be led by the International Labour Organisation, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Key points which unions believe are the basis for agreed conclusions at the ILO meeting are:

  • a strong call on governments and the international financial institutions to reinforce the recovery elements of the current stabilisation and reform programmes with a view to an early reduction of interest rates;
  • the easing of restrictive budgetary policies and the rapid introduction of essential financial reforms based on the principles of transparency, accountability and participation, at both national and international levels;
  • a region-wide drive on core labour standards, especially the strengthening of union rights and the institutions of tripartism;
  • union involvement in company restructuring plans to improve both job security, compensation for those laid-off, and improved co-operation on measures to increase productivity;
  • an expansion of training for the unemployed; the development of social security systems with especial focus on extending the coverage of unemployment benefit;
  • job creation programmes, and other forms of social protection for the unemployed with special emphasis on the most vulnerable such as migrant workers, women and the young.

"Financial and social stability are interdependent, they cannot be achieved separately," said Mr Rampak. "A worsening of the social crisis will inevitably call into question the sustainability of the still fragile programmes governments have agreed with the IMF.

"It is vital that the ILO is an active participant in the design and implementation of the social programmes of the international financial institutions. These institutions are on record as supporting social dialogue as a means for strengthening consensus backing for adjustment and we expect that they will welcome a more active role for the ILO, which is the only international institution founded on the principles of tripartism." he concluded.

The trade union position was drawn up by Asian trade unions, at a special meeting in Singapore in February, organised by the ICFTU's Asian Regional Organisation. Since the winter, the ICFTU/APRO have been running a campaign on the Asian economic crisis, which has included Asian regional seminars; meetings with governments, with European Union heads of governments, and with the major financial institutions.

For further information, please contact the ICFTU Press Office on: 322 224 0212

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