Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has called for the workforce to be strengthened so that Lao goods and services can compete with those of other countries amid regional integration.
Mr Thongloun made the call yesterday in his address at the annual meeting of the labour and social welfare sector.
If we can’t produce a workforce that meets requirements in terms of both quantity and quality, and timely supply for employers, we won’t be able to prevent an influx of workers from other ASEAN countries, Mr Thongloun said, referring to the free movement of labour that is permitted within the ASEAN Economic Community.
He said the improvement of domestic labourers’ skills would be one way to prevent them losing their jobs. He stressed that the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and related sectors would prioritise the comprehensive development of Lao workers in terms of skills, capability, discipline, and perseverance.
He reminded officials that employers often complain about Lao labourers not being dedicated to their jobs and taking time off at will. This common problem was frustrating for employers and harmed their business operations.
The premier said checks would be made on the implementation of the Labour Law, especially concerning the lowest wage policy and welfare issues.
Inspections were also called for by the prime minister to see whether the rumours that employers were giving their workers stimulants so they could work longer hours were true.
He asked the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Federation of Trade Unions to urgently look into the matter.
Regarding management, Mr Thongloun asked the ministry whether existing employment systems, such as job fairs, were satisfactory. He said he wanted to be sure that one business’s hiring of skilled labour did not affect employment in other businesses and that people were hired through a system of good cooperation.
Concerning the demand for labour, the prime minister said the Ministry of Education and Sports must investigate the needs of the various sectors.
The ministry reported that more than 132,000 people underwent skill development in the past year, and around 146,000 people found jobs.
The creation of trade union and Party organisations within factories and business units was raised by Mr Thongloun, who said these were compulsory. He referred to the situation in China and Vietnam, where such bodies not only protected workers, but facilitated business operations.
Laos is a destination for illegal workers from neighbouring countries. Numerous people from neighbouring countries come to Laos on tourist visas but stay here and open shops throughout the country.
Mr Thongloun tabled the prevention of illegal foreign labour migration for discussion at the meeting. He pointed to the growing number of foreigners who entered and stayed in Laos for a couple months but obtained a work permit after registering with the authorities and even a Lao identity card.
He called on ministries and local authorities to cooperate in addressing this issue.
Source: Vientiane Times