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Fact Sheet: New Initiative to Improve Labor Rights in Burma

November 14, 2014

Today the United States, together with the Governments of Burma, Japan, and Denmark, and the International Labor Organization (ILO), launched the Initiative to Promote Fundamental Labor Rights and Practices in Myanmar.

The Initiative will help modernize Burma's labor code, improve compliance with international labor standards, and foster a robust dialogue between the government, business, labor and civil society. The United States, as part of its efforts to support democratic and economic reforms in Burma, is working with Burma and the international community to improve fundamental labor rights and set a strong foundation for sustainable growth and development in Burma.

Structure of the Initiative

This innovative engagement will use a multilateral, multi-stakeholder approach to strengthen labor reform, enforcement, transparency, and domestic stakeholder consultations. The Initiative will support development by the government, in partnership with the ILO and the Initiative governments, of a multi-year labor reform plan to build on the significant labor law reforms already undertaken by Burma. The Initiative also will bring stakeholders into the discussion on labor reforms and build the foundations for good industrial relations and civil society consultations in Burma.

Plans for the Initiative

The next steps of the Initiative will be to hold a stakeholder forum in Burma in early 2015 to provide input on the development of the labor reform plan, and draft the labor reform plan through the Labor Law Reform Cluster. The U.S. Department of Labor is providing initial "seed" funding to the ILO in order to bring on board a labor law expert to assist the government in developing the labor reform plan over the next six months.

The Initiative is designed to support the government and stakeholders in promoting fundamental labor rights and responsible business practices, helping to make Burma an attractive sourcing and investment destination, protecting Burma's workers and supporting its businesses, and advancing Burma's overall sustainable growth and development.

Barack Obama, Fact Sheet: New Initiative to Improve Labor Rights in Burma Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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