Sunday, May 7, 2023

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition Urges Gov't to Take Bold Steps to Address Workers' Issues, as Philippines Among 24 Shortlisted Countries for Examination in the ILO Geneva Conference in June

The lagest labor coalition in the country is calling on the Marcos administration to take concrete actions to address the issues and concerns of workers, as the country is among the 24 shortlisted countries for examination during the upcoming International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva in June. This comes as the Philippines marks its 75th year of membership in the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition highlights that the Philippines is included in the long list of ILO Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) due to 69 reported killings of trade union leaders and organizers, and about 400 other violations of Convention 87. 

Nagkaisa holds that  the lack of representation from workers and employers in the current Executive Order 23 (EO23) signed by President Bongbong Marcos also contributed to the Philippines' inclusion in the list.

While it is a positive step forward, the current EO23 fails to address the significant problem that workers face in exercising their freedom to form unions or associations. To address this issue, the coalition proposes its amendments to transform it into a tripartite commission, consisting of representatives from the government and representatives from workers and employers groups in accordance with the principle of "tripartism and social dialogue" of ILO Convention 144 and the principles  of "shared responsibility" and "participation in decision-making' under the Constitution and the Labor Code . This body would serve as the primary mechanism for addressing worker issues and seeking justice for the countless victims of violations of Freedom of Association (FOA) and Trade Union (TU) rights.

Trade unions  heard Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma  on his call to proposed solutions or positive actions. Thus, Nagkaisa urgges him to schedule a meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for trade union leaders to present personally the proposed amendments to the EO and other suggestions in order to improve the situation of workers and hold those accountable for violations of FOA and TU rights.

The coalition emphasizes that unless the government takes substantial steps to demonstrate its intention to heed the recommendations of the ILO High-Level Tripartite Mission (HLTM) beyond the issuance of  EO23, the country will undoubtedly face scrutiny by the ILO.

It is time for the government to act and demonstrate its dedication to upholding the principles of decent work and social justice for all.

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