ASEAN ministers talk impacts of COVID-19 on labour, employment

Labour ministers from 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had a video conference on May 14 to look into impacts of COVID-19 on labour and employment.

The Vietnamese delegation to ASEAN labour ministers' video conference on the impact of COVID-19.
The Vietnamese delegation to ASEAN labour ministers' video conference on the impact of COVID-19.

At the meeting, Vietnamese Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung shared Vietnam’s experience in containing the pandemic as well as measures adopted by the Vietnamese Government to promptly deal with difficulties caused by the disease.

The Vietnamese Government has approved a relief package worth VND62 trillion (US$2.6 billion) to help about 20 million people, mostly labourers who have been rendered jobless by the epidemic, and affected businesses, he said.

Dung expressed his belief that with attention of high-ranking leaders and regional policy actions, ASEAN will soon overcome this difficult time, recover the labour market and build a cohesive and responsive community.

He took the occasion to thank other ministers, delegation heads and the ASEAN Secretary General for backing Vietnam’s initiative on building the ASEAN declaration on human resources development for the changing world of work that will be submitted to the 36th ASEAN Summit slated for June 2020.

Dung said he hopes that the declaration will create a significant cooperation foundation for ASEAN to improve competitiveness of regional labourers.

The delegates spoke of policies, programmes and social support packages exclusively for labourers, especially those regarding their wage, job, safety and health.

They issued the joint statement of ASEAN labour ministers on response to the impact of COVID-19 on labour and employment.

Apart from a meeting between ASEAN member countries, there was an open meeting between them and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The ASEAN ministers expressed their hope for further cooperation with the ILO in labour and employment in the time ahead to deal with challenges caused by the pandemic and other relevant issues.