Attempted Murders: none reported
Threats: none reported
Injuries: none reported
Arrests: none reported
Imprisonments: none reported
Dismissals: none reported
While the Constitution guarantees some freedoms to Lao citizens, there is little room for trade union activities in the law. All unions must belong to the Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU), which is directly controlled by the ruling party. The law further prohibits union members from organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. an “illegal group, gathering, or protest and acts” that are found to damage the union as well as the interest of the state or the collective interest. Those who join an organisation that encourages protests, demonstrations and actions that might cause “turmoil or social instability” face imprisonment of between one and five years. Furthermore, the law meticulously regulates the internal organisation of unions, and stipulates that only Lao nationals can become union members.
While protection against anti-union dismissals is secured, the law does not protect workers against retaliation short of dismissal, e.g. transfers for “disciplinary reasons”. In the Labour Law, unions are only acknowledged in the context of identification of workers for redundancy, the possibility to negotiate on wage levels and to assist individual workers in settling disputes. Finally, the dispute resolution system fails to provide any possibility of legal strike
The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.
See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike action, as all disputes must be settled by negotiation, mediation mediation A process halfway between conciliation and arbitration, in mediation a neutral third party assists the disputing parties in reaching a settlement to an industrial dispute by suggesting possible, non-binding solutions.
See arbitration, conciliation , arbitration arbitration A means of resolving disputes outside the courts through the involvement of a neutral third party, which can either be a single arbitrator or an arbitration board. In non-binding arbitration, the disputing parties are free to reject the third party’s recommendation, whilst in binding arbitration they are bound by its decision. Compulsory arbitration denotes the process where arbitration is not voluntarily entered into by the parties, but is prescribed by law or decided by the authorities.
See conciliation, mediation or by the People’s Court.
Given that the Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU) and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) are so closely knit, the LFTU effectively enables the party to control the workers. In its official declarations, the LFTU frequently speaks of its collaborative role with the government to ensure enforcement of the labour law so that the rights of both workers’ and employers’ are protected and as a formulator of future labour laws and regulations. This quasi-official function of the LFTU means it has a dual role as both a controller as well as a potential protector of labour.
Factory level LFTU representatives are usually LPRP members and/or part of the management. There is little evidence that the union is able to effectively protect workers’ rights in particular in private sector companies.
Four leaders of the “Student movement of 26 October” remain in prison, more than 11 years after organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. a peaceful protest in Vientiane in October 1999 for social justice, democratic reform and the respect of human rights. They have already served the ten years in prison to which they were sentenced. They are Thongpaseuth Keuakoun, Sengaloun Phengphanh, Bouavanh Chanmanivong and Keochay (their comrade Khamphouvieng Sisa-At died in prison in 2001 as a result of torture and ill treatment). The authorities promised to release Sengaloun Phengphanh and Bouavanh Chanmanivong in 2012.
Nine other people remain in prison for taking part in 2009 in demonstrations converging on Vientiane to demand justice and respect for their fundamental rights. The nine include two women Kingkoe Phongsely and Somchit and seven men, Soubinh, Souane, Sinpasong, Khamsone, Nou, Somkhit et Sourigna.