The EU and Thailand launched a bilateral Labour Dialogue with the objective to promote decent work through closer cooperation, exchange of best practices and mutual learning.
The Director-General of the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour of the Royal Thai Government participated in the signing ceremony of the administrative arrangement in Brussels on 17 May.
Both sides welcomed the Labour Dialogue which brings the bilateral relations to a new level and clearly underlines the commitment by Thailand and the EU to work even more closely together on labour matters. They underlined the objective to jointly deliver tangible results on improving working conditions in line with the sustainable development goals and the Decent Work Agenda.
In the framework of the launch of the labour dialogue representatives of the European Union and the Ministry of Labour of the Royal Thai Government discussed during a two-day meeting the latest developments on labour matters in the fishing sector, forced labour and labour migration. They also exchanged views on other labour matters such as business and human rights and decent work in global supply chains.
Thailand announced plans to ratify shortly the Forced Labour Protocol of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which would make it the first country in Asia to ratify this core labour standard, and shared progress made towards ratifying other relevant ILO Conventions.
The Ministry of Labour of the Royal Thai Government and the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, together with other ministries of the Royal Thai Government and with other services of the European Commission and the European External Action Service, have been cooperating on labour matters related to the fight against illegal unreported and unregulated fishing since 2015.
This cooperation has enabled the European Union and Thailand to exchange views and support progress in the fight against forced labour and in reducing the vulnerability of migrant workers to labour abuses, which is prevalent in the fishing and seafood sector.
The EU-Thailand cooperation on labour matters has proved relevant also to other sectors beyond fishing and seafood. Consequently, both sides decided to launch a dedicated Labour Dialogue, which is broader in focus and has a longer term perspective. The objectives of the Labour Dialogue are to: