THE REVOLUTIONARY ERA 1975-1986: LFTU EPITOMISES A CLASSIC DUALIST UNION
It was in this context that the LFTU was established as the monopoly union body in Laos by the LPRP.
Another characteristic of the LFTU which precisely complied with the classic dualist model was its relationship with the Party: the LFTU was a creature of the Party, through and through.
In terms of union organisation, the structure of the LFTU complied with Pravda and Ruble's production principle: all employees in a given sector of the economy were eligible for membership of the same union, including managers and workers and professionals; and all members were required to be members of their grass roots unit (LFTU, 1984).
The LFTU also complied with Pravda and Ruble's other organisational principle of democratic centralism.
Indeed, the structure of the LFTU raises the question of whether the term "Federation" (Sahaphan) in its name was superfluous and misleading because it was actually a single union with sections and branches rather than a federation of unions-more properly Lao Trade Union.
The LFTU was assigned the central role of organising workers, in both public and private sectors, to contribute (Sombathduang, 1984b).
The LFTU was also responsible for persuading workers, in both public and private enterprises, to be self-sufficient in food by establishing their own gardens and raising their own chickens and livestock.
The 1983 LFTU Congress resolved to introduce a system of recognition for the best performing workers or soldiers in each organisation and the best performing organisations, in order to engender a spirit of competition.
The LFTU was also engaged in certain protective or defensive functions in the early years of the Union, but these were given far less emphasis and prominence.
In addition to these dual functions, the LFTU also claimed to undertake an array of other miscellaneous roles which do not readily fit into either production or protection category.
Noticeably absent from all LFTU proceedings during this time is any overt challenge to the policies or direction of the Party which had resulted in such severe disadvantage to their members: the destruction of a relatively orderly public sector employment regime, delayed or non-payment of wages and even the partial abandonment of monetised remuneration (LFTU, 1984).