2008-2014

AELF Conference prior to Senior Officials’ Preparatory Meeting for LEMC2, Jakarta 2007: The meeting was opened by Indonesian trade unionists and the Secretary General of the Manpower Ministry. Trade unionists from Asia underlined the weakness of the social dialogue in the region and noted that ‘Social Asia’ was still far away. The meeting adopted a Statement to the Senior Labour Officials.

Beijing Summit 2008–AELF5: The 5th Labour Forum was held in Indonesia. The trade union leaders presented the Statement “Promoting decent work and shaping the social dimension of globalisation”.

High Level Employment Forum (Brussels, March 2010), 2nd Social Partners’ Forum with LEMC3 (Leiden, December 2010) and Brussels Summit 2010–AELF6: The Social Partners were invited to the High Level Employment Forum in March 2010 to discuss on the themes of LEMC3 (find here a report - 2nd ASEM Social Partners Forum, Brussels) and the actual Social Partners’ Consultations took place in Leiden a day before the LEMC3 (find here an evaluation of the 3rd ASEM Labour and Employment Ministers’ Conference). The ASEM Leaders’ Summit in Brussels was held in October. The AELF6 produced an analysis and evaluation of ASEM8 Summit conclusions.

A summary report of the 6th Asia-Europe Labour Forum (“Trade Union Summit”), AELF’s participation in the Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF8), and the ASEM 8 Summit is available.

The 6th Asia-Europe Labour Forum held its meeting just before the Leaders’ Meeting and adopted a Statement to the ASEM Leaders and Labour Ministers with the title “Building Economic Recovery Through Decent Work” that addressed measures to be taken to cushion labour of the financial crisis. The Forum held a public session that was joined by the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Steven Vanackere, the European Commission’s DG Employment, the Dutch Ministry of Labour and the Director General of Business Europe, the Director of Brussels ILO Office and the union leaders of ITUC, ITUC-AP, ETUC and the three Belgian Trade Union Centres. The speakers mostly focused on the global economic crisis, its impacts and exit strategies. Among others, speakers discussed income inequality, social protection, the ILO Global Jobs Pact, climate change, a minimum wage, collective bargaining, social dialogue and the promotion of Decent Work. The Belgian Prime Minister and host of the 2010 Asia Europe Meeting, Yves Leterme said that ASEM is a vibrant dialogue process and needs examine how to implement social security and promote social dialogue. As social protection is stronger in Europe than in Asia the Leaders should give a strong mandate to the ILO and the UN on the creation of the social protection floor.

The AELF6 submitted two project proposals to the LEMC3 on skills for green jobs and social protection.
“Skills for Green Jobs and Productivity in a Low-Carbon Economy”
“Towards Global Social Protection for All in Asia and Europe”

In September 2010, members of the AELF attended the ASEM Workshop on Social Protection Floor and the Informal Economy in France.

AELF Evaluation and Strategy Workshop, Hanoi 2011: The FES and ITUC co-organised a workshop on October 2011 to evaluate the unions’ engagement to ASEM and plan a strategy for the next ASEM major meetings. The ITUC provided a presentation of unions’ participation in the ASEM process. The participants met with representatives of the Vietnamese Labour Ministry who explained the goals and themes of the Labour and Employment Ministerial Conference (LEMC4). In the last session, the ITUC presented proposals for a timetable of action and proposed themes for the LEMC. The proposed topics comprised, recovery plans on the basis of the ILO’s Global Jobs Pact and the Decent Work Agenda; building up capacities for social protection; upgrading skills for the low-carbon economy (green skills); addressing youth employment; and the inclusion of social partners in ASEM.

ASEM High Level Forum (HLF) on Employment and Social Policy, Hanoi 2011 was attended by about 30 government officials from Asia and Europe, OECD, ILO, trade unions (VGCL, ITUC and ITUC-AP) and employers’ representatives. The HLF was in part preparing input to the next day’s Labour Ministries’ Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) which focussed on youth employment and social protection. The AELF presented a set of policy proposals to the High Level Forum on Employment and Social policy, and supported the establishment of Social Protection Floors.

In April 2011, members of the AELF participated in the ASEM Labour Project “Forum on Social Safety Nets: Enhanced cooperation to address post-crisis challenges” in Hanoi, Vietnam. You can find the official report and the AELF report on this project (here).

3rd ASEM Social Partners’ Forum with LEMC4, Hanoi 2012 and Vientiane Summit 2012- AELF7
The LEMC4 was held under the theme "Social protection and employment – a key to sustainable and inclusive growth" and was preceded by a Social Partners’ Consultations event. The AELF 7 was organised in Hanoi on October 23 and adopted a Statement to the 4th ASEM Labour and Employment Ministers Conference. The participants in the AELF discussed and formulated the messages to be conveyed to the Social Partners’ Forum which was held the next day. The messages to the Ministers were structured so as to address the LEMC’s topics, and they are the following: restoring higher employment, decent job creation and growth, social protection, Skill development and tackling skills mismatches, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and Health and Safety at Work. The AELF7 also reviewed and evaluated the 2010 ASEM Labour and Employment Ministers’ Conference (LEMC) and Social Partners’ Forum (SPF). Participants also discussed current political, social and economic relations between Asia and Europe and they had the opportunity to be informed on current political and socio-economic developments in the host country, Vietnam. At the Social Partners’ Forum on October 24, trade unions and employers’ organisations had the opportunity to convey messages to the Ministers on the selected topics and discuss different opinions. You can find here a report on the outcomes of AELF7, the 3rd Social Partners Forum and AELF’s participation in the Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF9).

AELF members participated in the ASEM Labour Project, “Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Symposium on Developing a Preventive OSH Culture” in September 2012 in Singapore. A summary is available (here – Outcomes on OSH).

Mid-term meeting of AELF members in Phnom Pehn, 2013
The AELF participants gathered in Phnom Pehn to stocktake on ASEM developments in 2012 and 2013 and with a view to preparing input in the 2014 ASEM Summit in Milan. They engaged in exchange of opinions and ideas on desirable union goals for ASEM-2014 and challenges that need to be addressed with union action.

In particular, participants from Belgium and Indonesia formed the AELF-Working Group on ‘Social Dialogue for Working Conditions’ to provide input in the ASEM Labour Project with the same title. The Working Group presented the AELF contribution to the ASEM project on social dialogue on working conditions that included a brief introduction of social dialogue in Asia and in Europe and extended into identifying best practices and different formats for the AELF proposal to the Ministers on a future project to follow-up the already mandated project on ‘Social Dialogue for Working Conditions’.

Milan Summit 2014-AELF8
Due to technical difficulties the European Commission announced that the LEMC5 that was meant to be hosted by a European country in 2014 was postponed to 2015. The AELF8 focused on reinforcing strategies against precarious work and discussed entries for this topic onto ASEM agendas of Leaders and Labour Ministers. The participants were addressed by the Italian Undersecretary of State, Benedetto Della Vedova, and in the end of the Forum, Michael Matthiessen, Principal Advisor on ASEM from the European External Affairs Service (EEAS) briefed the meeting on the outcomes of the Leaders’ Summit that had just finished.

The AELF-Working Group on ‘Social Dialogue for Working Conditions’ organised a session with the government of Belgium, the ILO and the European Commission to discuss the outcomes of the project and pledged for its continuation.

Participants of the AELF also took part in the 10th Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF10).
Here is a Summary report AELF 8.