SINGAPORE – The four-day 17th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) concluded with the adoption of the Singapore Statement, which reaffirms the “tripartite commitments to, and the relevance of, the priorities agreed in the Bali Declaration to address the decent work deficits in Asia and the Pacific and the Arab regions.”
Felix Anthony, ITUC-Asia Pacific President and Workers’ Group Spokesperson, said in his concluding remarks, “The pandemic showed the importance of workers and they important role they play in the society and in the development of a country.” He continued, “We wanted all to understand that workers are humans. That when we say that workers need their rights respected and that they need decent wages and working conditions, that all understand why we are asking for them.”
He underscored the importance of the APRM, along with the agreed Singapore Statement and the Bali Declaration, which workers deem as a vehicle for change in the region. “We call on the Governments and the employers to work together with us. Let us get together at the national level and hold tripartite discussions to plan and implement the recommendations,” he said.
This was echoed by Mary Liew, President of Singapore National Trades Union Congress, in her concluding remarks as the Workers’ Vice-Chairperson of the APRM:
“We must never take tripartism for granted. Tripartite social dialogue is absolutely necessary and must be a strong pillar in this house.”
Emphasising the need for decisive action and follow-up, Felix Anthony said:
“The underlying objective here is to ensure that the workers of this region are enjoying all the freedoms, all the rights that the ILO Core Conventions set and to restore the dignity and humanity in the world of work for the workers that we represent.”
Shoya Yoshida, General Secretary of the ITUC-Asia Pacific, welcomes the adoption of the Singapore Statement and the recognition of the significance of the Bali Declaration. He said:
“The social partners must take immediate actions to ensure that the commitments set out in the twin documents – Singapore Statement and Bali Declaration – are implemented. Fulfilling these commitments paves the pathway to a truly human-centred recovery.”
“We want the APRM to continue in the future as this provides a space for the tripartite partners to meaningfully discuss the issues and ways forward in addressing the challenges in the world of work in Asia and the Pacific as well as in Arab states,” Shoya Yoshida stressed.
Participated by over 300 delegates representing workers, employers and governments, the 17th APRM was held in Singapore from 6 to 9 December 2022 to discuss concrete steps towards a job-rich, inclusive and transformative human-centred recovery.