Thailand, Laos agree on workers pact

Thailand, Laos agree on workers pact

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (left, in civilian suit) accompanies visiting Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith to inspect an honour guard, shortly after the visitor arrived at Government House on Wednesday. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (left, in civilian suit) accompanies visiting Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith to inspect an honour guard, shortly after the visitor arrived at Government House on Wednesday. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)

Thai and Lao labour ministers have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on labour cooperation to improve the livelihoods of Lao workers in Thailand.

The agreement covers academic cooperation, worker skill development and social benefits for Lao workers here.

Labour Minister Gen Sirichai Distakul signed the pact with Lao labour minister Khampheng Saysompheng yesterday at Government House, witnessed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Lao Premier Thongloun Sisoulith.

According to the Ministry of Labour, there are 128,388 registered Lao workers in Thailand, only 178 of whom are skilled labourers while 2,742 are in fishery and seafood processing factories.

According to a source at the Royal Thai Police's Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, 52 Lao women forced into the sex trade were rescued last year, most were under 18 years of age.

The source said 19 were rescued in the first three months of this year.

Thailand and Laos have been working to address concerns over human trafficking and safe migration for Lao citizens who enter Thailand since they came up with an MoU on labour cooperation in 2002. Annual meetings have been held since.

Ahead of the signing ceremony yesterday, Gen Prayut and Mr Thongloun discussed a wide range of issues including regional connectivity, infrastructure development, and bilateral trade and investment.

They also agreed to broaden cooperation on cross-border tourism.

The idea is in line with the Tourism and Sports Ministry's policy to set Thailand as a travel centre for visitors to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, to keep the momentum of its booming tourism sector going.

During the meeting, the prime ministers also expressed readiness to sign an Agreement of Employment of Workers, expected by the end of this year.

Mr Thongloun, who arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday, delivered a keynote speech at Khon Kaen University before he wrapped up his two-day official visit to Thailand.


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