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Reforming the labour market

One of the prerequisites for continued strong and sustainable growth in Myanmar is continued progress on structural reforms, including on labour market institutions. This is why Myanmar and Denmark have made cooperation on labour market reform a priority

Labour market institutions are particularly crucial in fostering both inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and an enabling business environment. Decent jobs, including safe and healthy working conditions, and sound industrial relations is an important framework condition for fostering foreign investment and export-led economic development.

Against this background, Myanmar and Denmark have identified labour market reform as an area for Strategic Sector Cooperation over the course of 2016-2018, and Denmark has posted a labour market counsellor to Myanmar for this period. The goal of the cooperation is to contribute to the development of safer and healthier working conditions and improvement of social dialogue in Myanmar.

More specifically, the Danish support consists of capacity building activities in two areas. One of these is the area of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) where experts from the Danish Working Environment Agency, which is the Danish government institution responsible for OSH, will provide advice and technical training to the staff at its Myanmar counterpart.

The second area of focus is to increase the capacity of representatives of both Myanmar workers’ and employers’ organisations, as well as Government, to engage in constructive dialogue with each other on labour market issues. This training is carried out by representatives from Danish workers’ and employers’ organisations, who are sharing Danish experience on how trade unions, employers’ organisations and Government can achieve considerable mutual benefits by working together.

The cooperation, which includes Danish support of approximately USD 760,000 (DKK 5 million), is governed by an agreement between the Myanmar Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population and the Danish Ministry of Employment which entered into force in March 2016. Read more about the start-up and initial results of the Danish programme here.

Previous Danish engagement in the development of a well-functioning labour market in Myanmar includes the allocation of DKK 25 million (approximately USD 3.8 million) in 2014-2016 to build up responsible business. Moreover, Denmark is a founding member of the "Initiative to Promote Fundamental Labour Rights and Practices in Myanmar", which is intended to help modernize Myanmar's labour legislation, improve compliance with international labour standards, and foster a robust dialogue between the government, business, labour and civil society. The initiative was launched on November 14, 2013 by the government of Myanmar, The United States, Japan, Denmark, and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Read more about the results of Danish Authorities in International Cooperation in other places of the world here.

Check out the most recent news about the cooperation here.

Danida