MOL Commences Academic Seminar to Present Results of Case Study on Methods of Driving Labour Development to Advance the Economy of the Future

Thursday, 05 September 2019

            The Labour Minister presided over the commencement and keynote address for the academic seminar to present the results of the study on "methods of driving labour development to advance the economy of the future; a case study of labour in the manufacturing, tourism service and agricultural sector and the elderly workforce." The event took place at the Chao Phraya Park Hotel, Bangkok.


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            On September 5, 2019, at 09.30 hours, Labour Minister M.R. Chatumongol Sonakul presided over the commencement and keynote address for the academic seminar to present the results of the study on "methods of driving labour development to advance the economy of the future; a case study of labour in the manufacturing, tourism service and agricultural sector and the elderly workforce”. The event took place at the Chao Phraya Park Hotel, Bangkok. The Labour Minister said that we are now in an age of changes in social and technological factors, which is more relevant to our daily lives. It enhances convenience, including fast and modern communication, fintech in the financial and banking sectors and other forms of technology that will be invented and developed in response to the rapidly changing lifestyle. In particular, the use of automation and artificial intelligence, or Al, is increasingly replacing human capital in almost every industry and service, whether in production or freight management to the medical field. In the industrial sector, robots are used to help improve the product manufacturing process to be more standardized, reduce costs, or help in product design.
            Technology and AI becoming a part of life, it inevitably affects the workforce, employment, and use of labour. Many are worried that workers in many professions will disappear. The OECD estimates that in the next 15 years, 14% of workers are at high risk of being replaced by automation, and another 30% face changing skills. In addition, a World Bank study on "the risk of robots competing for work" finds that the latter tend to see the trend of the use of robots and automation, especially in emerging markets as measured by the stock of industrial robots. Thailand is ranked at the top of this group and is expected to use more robots and automation because it is worth the investment when considering wages, labour shortages, industrial robot prices, and usage time. Also, technological advances pose a more significant challenge in the working world. The relationship between employers and employees have changed since the online platform, especially in the sharing economy such as online taxi services, delivery services or even the general public being able to rent their own houses or rooms through online platforms. All of these have resulted in the workforce becoming more flexible with the changing context, both in terms of social security, safety at work and welfare, to the development of skills. The workforce must be ready to change, always learn, and develop.
            The Labour Minister said that he would like to inform the audience that the government under the leadership of General Prayuth Chan-ocha, places great importance on the preparation of human resources for the 21st-century, outlined in the 20-year government policy, including the national strategy for the development of human resources to support changes. It also includes driving relevant economic policies such as the development of 10 targeted industries and the Eastern Economic Corridor or EEC under the "Thailand 4.0” policy. The government considers the human potential to be an essential factor and when combined with technology and digital systems, the workforce can lead a transitional country into a developed country with a high population income based on social equality. Therefore, labour missions can be considered an important part of national development, especially preparing for human capital that is consistent with changes in technology and production. This includes the improvement and development of labour operations following the changing economic and social challenges, entering the aging society, international labour migration, labour productivity and social security, It connects and involves many agencies, both public and private. For the country to progress into the "workforce transformation" era, the Labour Minister believes that in the next 20 - 30 years, essential problems for Thailand include how the Thai workforce will transition from a mid-level developed country like today, into a skilled workforce leading to labour reform, in order to raise the country's human capital to be in line with the changes in technology and production systems in the Thailand 4.0 era. Furthermore, the question is how to manage the entire workforce in line with international standards comparable to developed countries in the OECD group and prepare to support the labour movement in accordance with the government policy.
            The first item is the development of the workforce to support industry 4.0 and raise skills to become super workers to improve skilled labour. Furthermore, is skill enhancement in potential industry groups following the 10 target industries of the government, both S-Curve and New S-Curve, in collaboration with the business sector, industries, and educational institutions, through curriculum development and training methods in line with the needs of the labour market. This so that the economic transition to industries and services that focus on the synergy between human labour and technology is smooth. The initiative will benefit all stakeholders fairly and equitably. The Ministry of Labour attaches importance to the development of vocational skills at all ages, from the beginning of school learning to the preparation for entering the labour market. It promotes dual vocational education skill development, which supports bilateral and cooperative education. The ministry also helps the development of the potential of informal and agricultural workers, the elderly, the disabled and low-income groups to have knowledge and skills to improve career opportunities, such as developing skills in modern technology. The activities combine local wisdom with production technology knowledge and management, raising the standard of careers and product and packaging development to increase the capacity to produce products or the value of local products and services sustainably.
            The second item is creating a comprehensive social security program for education, health, and employment that is suitable for all populations. It ensures appropriate welfare, job security and life in society, allowing workers to support their families. The activities help workers to develop their potential and culture as a whole, including creating equality between people following the principles of decent work. In addition, there are plans to establish a pension system to ensure security in the old age (or retirement) in which the people will have sufficient income to survive when they are no longer working.
            The third item is the development of public service systems to be convenient, easy, fast, reduce steps, save money, and travel time. It plans to upgrade digital services in various areas, including online systems and applications. Services will be delivered with heart, transparency and fairness, including the integration of government agency databases. There are plans to develop all functions within the Ministry of Labour which can be done via electronic channels within the next 5 years. The role of the Ministry of Labour is to become a facilitator to allow the public to access various services through the private sectors channels more quickly and efficiently.
            Finally, the Labour Minister said that he sincerely hopes that the academic seminar today will enable all groups to help each other to give opinions about ways to drive labour development, problems, obstacles, and impacts when entering the industrial age 4.0. The information will be beneficial for the Ministry of Labour and related government sectors to use to formulate policies and sustainable practices.


Division of Public Relations/5 September 2019