Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network-SGRA Project in Laos (April)

Group photo of participants in the 1st Expanded Working Committee meeting

  JILAF visited Vientiane from April 23 (Monday) to 26 (Thursday) on the occasion of the fiscal 2018 start in Laos of the SGRA project (Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network), which JILAF is implementing with grants from the Japanese government (Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare). Discussions focused on annual plans and specific activities based on the fiscal 2018 project policy.

In Laos, the SGRA project is being conducted in various regions by the Central Promotion Committee, the main policymaking body consisting of representatives of the government, labour, and management in Laos (the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Lao Federation of Trade Unions [LFTU], and Lao Chamber of Commerce and Industry), as well as the International Labour Organization (ILO), and, as bodies promoting activities, the Vientiane Working Committee, Savannakhet Working Committee, Champasak Working Committee, and Oudomxay Working Committee.

At the first fiscal 2018 meetings of the Central Promotion Committee and Expanded Working Committee, held during JILAF’s visit, the participants looked back on the achievements of the project and issues in fiscal 2017 and carried out intensive consideration and discussions of annual plans and specific activities based on the project policy confirmed at the 3rd Central Promotion Committee meeting held toward the end of fiscal 2017 (on January 23, 2018). Specific activities and other matters were confirmed toward further development of the project in fiscal 2018. In the current fiscal year, efforts in Laos will focus on (1) the implementation of activities to improve and uplift the livelihood of informal-sector workers in Vientiane, Savannakhet, Champasak, and Oudomxay; (2) a follow-up of existing network members; and (3) the development of activities to strengthen the capacities of the committees and establish the independent and autonomous management of the project.

In addition, at the first meeting of the Expanded Working Committee, Japan’s Central Council of Workers’ Welfare (Chuo Rofukukyo) gave a lecture titled “The Workers’ Welfare Movement in Japan,” through which the members of the regional working committees in Laos deepened their understanding of the efforts of Japan’s workers’ welfare movement and the importance of network building for that purpose. Furthermore, during this meeting, the committee members split up by region to compile action plans for the current fiscal year, which they then announced to the whole meeting, with JILAF offering pertinent comments on them.

Aside from these meetings, in the afternoon of April 24 the JILAF delegation inspected a workplace in Vientiane of traditional textile workers who are network members and held an interview with them that spotlighted such issues as (1) labour without employment contracts (service agreements), (2) inferior work environment and working conditions, and (3) unstable income.

Schedule

DateContents
04/23Mon1st Central Promotion Committee meeting; inspection of network members’ workplace
04/24Tue1st Expanded Working Committee meeting

Photos of the Participants

Members of the 1st Central Promotion Committee

Members of the 1st Central Promotion Committee

Lecture by the Central Council of Workers’ Welfare during the 1st Expanded Working Committee meeting

Compilation of action plans at the 1st EWC meeting

Interview during the workplace visit

A traditional textile worker at work