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Labour Inspectors of ASEAN Hold Talks

QUANG NINH — More than 100 representatives from labour inspection agencies in the 10 ASEAN member countries gathered in northern Quang Ninh Province yesterday to share experiences and seek co-operation. At the two-day meeting, participants discussed ways of enhancing labour laws, the scope and standards for training labour inspectors.

Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Bui Hong Linh said labour inspection was vital for State management.

Director of the International Labour Organisation office in Viet Nam Rie Vejs Kjeldgaard said any Government's policies and programmes on health and safety, discrimination and basic labour conditions aimed to cover the millions of workers in thousands of workplaces in a broad range of industries. Conditions within those workplaces varied enormously, even within a single industry.

"Trade unions, seen in many countries as the traditional allies of government regulation when targeting and conducting inspections, do not have the full representation needed to cover all sectors, work places and geographical areas," she said.

"This is a pattern seen in many economies and countries. The vast challenge for all government labour inspectorates is to have sufficient budgets and staff to provide services to all work places."

She added that new types of business, inappropriate legal and policy frameworks, increasing competition and global economic integration contributed to the challenges that modern labour inspection must address.

Chief Inspector of the Vietnamese Labour Ministry Nguyen Van Tien said the limited number of inspectors and lack of training were two problems faced in Viet Nam. He said the number of businesses was increasing rapidly - along with labour law violations.

Vietnamese representatives suggested improving co-operation among inspectors of member countries. This included setting up a forum for them to exchange information and experience.

They also suggested using the ILO labour-inspection treaty as a standard for ASEAN countries to build framework regulations on labour inspection. — VNS

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