Union Aid Abroad–APHEDA helps organise workers in the private sector in Lao PDR
The private sector in Lao PDR is booming, with massive investments in the expanding hydro-power, mining and forestry industries. Private sector investment rose from US$123 million in 2006 to US$1.27 billion in 2015 with the forestry and agriculture sector representing US$466 million in 2015. This has correspondingly seen an increase in workplace injuries and incidents and deteriorating working conditions (TUSSO-GUF meeting report 2016).
The Lao trade union movement has identified organising workers in the private sector as one of its major objectives over the next five years. In support of this objective, Union Aid Abroad–APHEDA is working with Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) and the Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU) in organising forestry workers in Laos to increase membership and campaign for decent jobs and safe working conditions.
The project will pilot a range of organising initiatives with the employees of Stora Enso, a Swedish and Finnish forestry company operating in Lao PDR, to address workers concerns about wages and safety. Stora Enso has 7,000 existing employees in Lao PDR and the company plans to significantly expand its activities over the next few years by establishing plantations of 3,000 hectares across 50 plantation sites in the southern provinces of Saravan and Savannakhet.
Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA has been working with global unions to support the LFTU on occupational health and safety, collective bargaining and worker organising since 2005.