ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Labor issues in Asean
By David Swartzentruber
The first issue is that more prosperous Asian countries that have the jobs often do not have enough labor to fill the positions and that situation may worsen with declining birth rates in these Asian countries. South Korea, Thailand, Japan and Singapore, among others, all need workers to fill the jobs to keep their economies progressing.
This need then places a large number of foreign countries that do not share their religious or cultural values. This was the case in the above story when the South Korean management operating the plants failed to recognize the importance of the Tet lunar New Year holidays to the Vietnamese, one of the reasons for the strike.
The religions of the 10-member Asean group are many: Muslim, Buddhist, Christian. Each of the countries has, of course, its own national holidays and traditions that differ from the country on the other side of the border.
The greater mobility of labor is certainly an important benefit of the AEC but expect some degree of cultural friction and misunderstandings along the way.
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