The 3rd High-Level Meeting of the EU-Thailand Labour Dialogue took place on 26 April 2023 in Brussels. It was co-chaired by Mr. Boonchob Suttamanaswon, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour of Thailand, and Mr. Joost Korte, the Director-General, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion. Both sides updated each other on the economic and social development as well as their respective policies and legislations relating to 4 topics of mutual interest – just transition, informal economy, freedom of association and the apprenticeship.
On this occasion, the Thai side highlighted a series of measures taken during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of workers including vaccination, Hospitel and Factory Sandbox. Migrant workers also received visa and work permit extension, where needed, and had equal access to vaccines and medical treatment. In March 2023, the new Labour Protection Act (No.8) B.E. 2566 (2023) was enacted, guaranteeing the rights for employees who work remotely or in a hybrid format. The EU side’s presentations included legislative developments on key issues such as the safety nets to avoid job losses during Covid-19, the adequate minimum wages, platform work, as well as telework and rights to connect. Both Thai and EU policymakers acknowledged similar challenges facing today’s labour world such as the rights of platform workers and the right to disconnect.
Moreover, on 27 April 2023, DG EMPLOI organized a field visit for the Thai delegation to the Aptaskil biopharmaceutical apprenticeship Center in Seneffe to learn and exchange views on the vocational training, continuing education, and the promotion of employment.
To date, the EU-Thailand Labour Dialogue have been held 3 times, in 2018, 2020 and 2023. It is a platform for exchange of views and best practices on labour matters, and an important building block in the overall relations between Thailand and the European Union.