Xayaboury dam creates 5,600 construction jobs for Laotians
Vientiane Times/Asia News NetworkAbout 5,600 Lao people have secured jobs as construction workers at the Xayaboury dam, thanks to the project's employment policy.
August 19, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
Before construction began, many of these people had insecure jobs. Some were temporary workers on a daily paid basis while others were engaged in low-earning shifting cultivation.
So far, the US$3.5 billion project has employed more than 7,000 people, up to 80 percent of whom are Lao nationals.
Priority is given to displaced villagers when recruiting labour for the run-of-river dam, according to the project's public relations advisory assistant, Khamkhong Kongvongsa.
Construction of the Xayaboury dam on the Mekong River is 13-percent complete.
Dor Khaosa-addy, who moved from his previous village of Houaysui to the newly resettled village of Natoryai 19 months ago, said most young people in the village have worked on the 1,285MW hydropower project at some point.
The father of four said his two sons and two sons-in-law formerly worked as daily-paid workers but now have full-time employment on the project and earn stable incomes.
“They earn about 2.2 million kip (US$280) a month each,” he said.
Giving job recruitment priority to local people is in line with the government's policy to create secure jobs for local residents by finding them work on a development project. It is seen as a way to give them greater financial benefits and improve their livelihoods.
In addition, the Labour Law stipulates that a development project is required to ensure that Lao nationals comprise at least 70 percent of its total workforce. A project may employ 20 percent of its workforce as foreign technicians or experts, but may not employ more than 10 percent of laborers from overseas.
Officials said the Xayaboury dam, which is now about 13 percent complete, will employ up to 12,000 people in total following its completion, scheduled for 2019.
In this regard, officials recommended that the relevant sectors accelerate training for Lao workers so they meet the required skill standard to apply for jobs in the future.
An unskilled workforce has resulted in Laos being unable to fully benefit from job opportunities within several projects.
Although the Labour Law stipulates that a development project may not employ more than 30 percent of its workforce from overseas, some projects have hired foreigners in excess of this limit, citing the fact that Lao workers do not have the qualifications to carry out the jobs, according to the Lao Federation of Trade Unions.