Investing in the future of industrial relations training: Findings of a feasibility study for a sustainable training mechanism in Myanmar

Strong industrial relations frameworks, policies and systems are essential to realize inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development. As Myanmar is modernizing its many labour market institutions, the ability of workers and employers’ organizations and their members to live up to what is expected from them in building an inclusive new Myanmar requires them to have the knowledge and skills to engage constructively. Many donors and international organizations, including the ILO, have responded positively to this emerging demand for knowledge and capacity building. Significant investments have been made toward ensuring that the ILO tripartite constituents increasingly develop their abilities to build an industrial relations model aligned with the society they want going forward. This report proposes scenarios for the long term and sustainable development of an industrial relations training mechanism responsive to the ILO constituents’ needs.

Strong and efficient industrial relations systems are important contributors to any country’s fair and sustainable socio-economic development. Industrial relations institutions are at the hearth of healthy labour market governance structures. Knowledge of how these industrial relations institutions operate is therefore essential.

The promotion of sound industrial relations is a priority of the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) for Myanmar, and the ILO Myanmar Office, with its social partners, has identified the development of a sustainable market exchange for industrial relations training as one of the means of action to deliver this agenda.

Currently, capacity development support from the ILO and other development partners, in the field of industrial relations training, generally focuses on ad hoc and direct support, where international experts are invited to deliver relatively short training courses for representatives from employers, workers’ organizations and government officials. This training modality raises a number of questions in terms of quality, adaptability to the Myanmar context and overall sustainability.

With the support of the International Training Center of the ILO (ITCILO), the ILO Garment Industry Project has assessed few options available to its social partners in designing the industrial relations training mechanisms best suited to their needs.