Lao labourers have been urged to improve their education levels, technical knowledge and skills, and social sensibilities in order to fully participate in the country’s socio-economic development and improving quality of life.

Vice President Bounnhang Vorachit urged Lao labourers throughout the country to improve themselves in his address at the meeting held on Tuesday in Vientiane to mark the 127th anniversary of International Labour Day which falls on May 1 every year.

Mr Bounnhang highlighted the opportunities and challenges regarding labourers’ development amidst scientific and technological progress, modernisation, and regional and international integration.

Mr Bounnhang Vorachit (fourth right), high level Party and government officials and other invited guests stand for the national anthem at the meeting.
Mr Bounnhang Vorachit (fourth right), high level Party and government officials and other invited guests stand for the national anthem at the meeting.
“Progress and integration is both an opportunity and challenge because despite the fact our workers and labourers have increased in number, on average their education, technical knowledge and skills remain low,” he stated.

High level Party and government officials, along with hundreds of representatives from mass organistions and students attended the meeting to salute the achievements of the international workers’ movement in world history.

Mr Bounnhang reminded the gathering that the enthusiasm of Lao labourers in developing their skills is limited. Moreover some of them just keep working without learning Party directions policies, and government laws, so as a consequence their sense of responsibility to the nation and organisational awareness is low.

On the other hand, many workers have to contend with unsafe working environments, said Mr Bounnhang, who is a Permanent Member of the Government Secretariat.

Many workers and labourers are not well protected enough, employed in unsafe workplaces with unregulated sanitation and hazardous conditions. Often they do not understand their rights or role in society, but simply keep working to maintain a meagre existence.

Some business units do not respect the Labour Law and force workers to work unlimited overtime without appropriate compensation, while many have still not implemented the minimum wage rise the government announced at the start of 2012.

Some businesses were cheating by including allowances and other benefits in their calculation of the total monthly payment of the minimum wage or have yet to fully implement the policy.

“The Party and government acknowledge that the careless behaviours of employers affect the rights and legal interests of Lao workers and labourers,” Mr Bounnhang said.

Mr Bounnhang, a Politburo member, stressed that the Party and government must give persistent attention to solving the issues relating to the Lao labour situation and workers’ living conditions.

In this regard, he represented the Politburo to call on Party committees, trade unions at all levels, civil servants and trade union members to pay attention in regards to political ideology and social strata concept training for Lao workers.

They should focus on educating them about the Party direction and government policy, laws and regulations, ethics, labour discipline, as well as ensuring there is sufficient employment available to them.

He called on the authorities to enhance the protection of the rights and interests of Lao workers and labourers who are still disadvantaged and may be affected by the free flow of labour when the Asean Economic Community is established in 2015.

He also called on all members of trade unions to be good role models, enhancing the discipline of trade union members working in government agencies, to prevent negative behaviours such as corruption, bribery, legal violations, inertia at work and absenteeism.

In comparison with other neighbouring countries, the Vice President noted, Laos is lagging behind regarding outstanding labour characteristics, while negative behaviours such as extravagance, cheating, greed, narcotic drugs, laziness, carelessness, and legal violations are common in the workplace.

Source: Vientiane Times
May 01, 2013