Employers and labor agree on workers' rights

Employers and labor groups have reiterated their commitment to respect labor rights guaranteed under the Philippine Constitution as they recognized the importance of an enabling environment conducive for investment creation and decent work.

This developed following the meeting of the High-Level Tripartite Mission (HLTM) of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, 1948 (No.87) held in Manila on January 23 to 26.

In a statement, the Leaders Forum (LF), comprising the business and employers groups, together with the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Partido Manggagawa (PM) specifically cited two points agreed during the three-day meeting.

The first point point is to respect workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining as guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution, national labor laws, and ILO Conventions; and, second, to continue the investigation, prosecution, and disposition of all labor-related cases affecting freedom of association and collective bargaining, without delay and in the interest of justice.

Both parties also agreed on the immediate implementation of the recommendations of the ILO; review the anti-insurgency policies of the government to ensure that such a campaign does not undermine freedom of association; strengthen the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council – Monitoring Body (NTIPCMB), ensuring that its mandate is fully realized with the provision of adequate resources, both financial and dedicated personnel solely for the NTIPC-MB; and Continue to address the concerns of all workers regarding their access to the rights guaranteed under ILO Convention Nos. 87 and 98.

The LF recognizes that the aforementioned principles and courses of actions are essential to put in place an enabling environment conducive for investment creation and decent work that will ultimately benefit the whole nation, in general, and both workers and employers, in particular.

Additionally, the labor sector recommended the establishment of a Presidential Commission for the Promotion of Freedom of Association and the formation of a Truth Commission for trade union victims of extrajudicial killings.

The joint statement was signed by George T. Barcelon, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Raymond Democrito Mendoza, president Trade Union Congress of the Philippines; Edgardo G. Lacson, chairman Employers Confederation of the Philippines; Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr., President Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc.; Jose Sonny G. Matula, president Federation of Free Workers; Josua Fred T. Mata, secretary general Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa; Elmer Labog, chairperson Kilusang Mayo Uno; and Rene Magtubo, chairperson Partido Manggagawa.