BWI participates in ASEAN Unions Assembly
07 Aug 14
In his inaugural address to the first ever ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC) General Assembly held on 4th August 2014 in Bali, Denpasar, Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary, underscored the need for trade unions to direct the planned ASEAN Economic Integration along decent work agenda framework.
He stated that, “ASEAN’s economic development could take place where workers have decent and stable jobs; with a strong presence of the trade union movement who’s recognize as a social partner; industry or sectoral bargaining, social dialogue, workers participation are institutionalized.”
Citing the BWI’s critical view of the economic integration he added: “We are one year away from being an ASEAN Community -- from being an economically integrated Southeast Asian region and reminded the delegates that “ASEAN community (should) meant social responsibility rather than individual burden, solidarity rather than competition, social and political equality rather than large gaps between the poor and the rich, not just in terms of incomes but also in terms of gender and human rights. And more importantly, ASEAN community meant raising voice rather than repressing freedom.”
In the advent of the ASEAN economic integration by 2015, the ASETUC held its General Assembly with more than 80 trade union leaders from BWI, UNI and PSI as well its social partners from the ASEAN employers and government groups as well as civil society organisations. The Regional integration entails a single market and product base, (2) a highly competitive economic region, (3) a region of equitable economic development, and (4) a region fully integrated into the global economy.
Established in 2007 by UNI, BWI and PSI, the ASETUC General Assembly Assembly is being held to review the ASETUC’s engagement on ASEAN three community blueprints – Political and Security; Economic and Socio-Cultural – and to craft policy paper for lobbying and negotiating works at the regional and national levels utilizing the tripartite social dialogue mechanism.
To guide the leadership of ASETUC, Yuson shared the experiences of the European trade unions. He stated, “We have to learn from the experiences of our fellow trade unionists in Europe. The social pillar of the European Union is under pressure. Our trade union comrades in Europe are under tremendous pressure. Collective bargaining is under attack; workers are forced to take wage cuts; massive reduction of social protection; rise in pension age and reduction in pension; budget cuts in public healthcare, education and vocational training especially for young workers; precarious work and bogus self-employment are widespread and trade union rights including the right to strike is being undermined.”
He added: “We have to reverse the trend from neoliberal policies within the ASEAN where the concentration of wealth and power are in the hands of a very few --- to push for the Social model of the ASEAN where economic, social and political equality can thrive. And today, we gather to take stock of what we have done to pursue decent work within the ASEAN.”