Trade union agenda for social dialogue in mining sector

Trade Union workshop on Just Transition Guidelines of ILO for Sustainable Economies and Societies for All: Trade union agenda and proposals for social dialogue in mining sector

The training workshop is aimed at building technical capacities of workers’ organizations in the Philippines on “Just Transition Guidelines of ILO for Sustainable Economies & Societies for All: Trade Union agenda & proposals for social dialogue in mining sector”.

The training also seeks to promote follow-up actions by workers’ organizations to operationalize the Just Transition (JT) guidelines into concrete trade union agenda and proposals for social dialogue for policy development, advocacy and other initiatives towards promoting decent work for workers in the mining sector.

Just Transition for mine workers has become an issue for the workers organizations in Philippines ever since the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) ordered the closure and suspension of more than 20 mining firms for allegedly causing destruction to the environment in February 2017. Although DENR closure orders have not been implemented at mines level so far, the issue brought to the fore the hazardous working conditions, lack of compliance with labour & environmental laws and inadequate funding in the mining sector for social development, regeneration of mining areas and funding of Just Transition for the workers. The situation, as it exists, points to the necessity of putting in place measures to strengthen compliance with labour and environmental laws in the Mines. Workers’ Organizations have been demanding social dialogue with the Government, setting up of Mining Industry Tripartite Council and for Just Transition Policies for workers and the community in the mining areas.

The Philippine Government intends to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 70 per cent by 2030 relative to its business-as-usual (BAU) scenario of 2000-2030. [The mitigation contribution is conditioned on the extent of financial resources, including technology development and transfer, and capacity building, that will be made available to the Philippines]. Reduction of GHG emissions will come from energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry sectors. It has established the Climate Change Commission (CCC), formulated its National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) and currently developing its the Nationally Determined Contribution to meet the Paris Agreement commitments, which prioritize and adopt adaptation as the key strategy on climate change. As part of this, the Philippine Government has also enacted the Green Jobs Act, aimed at giving incentives to companies for generating and sustaining green jobs and developing a Green Jobs HRD Plan.  What is not very clear is how much of this agenda has been developed through social dialogue with workers organizations.

Addressing environmental concerns, including climate change challenges, will involve bringing about a series of transformations in economic and social development, in production and consumption patterns. This has major implications for employment, incomes and livelihoods. Unions have therefore been stressing that employment transition measures are crucial for social and economic viability of climate change responses.

Sustainable development requires not only the respect for ecological limits but also respect for human and social rights, including the rights of workers. There is a need to build awareness among workers organizations on the Decent Work/rights-based approach to promoting sustainable development and policies needed for transition to green economy - especially the relevance of working conditions, terms of employment, occupational safety and health and freedom of association (FoA) rights to promoting sustainable development. Also needed is to build awareness on the links between the Sustainable Development Agenda targets and the need for Just Transition so that no one is left behind.

ILO's policy guidelines on Just Transition provide a framework for the member States to take into consideration when designing and implementing national strategies for sustainable development, including those related to the SDGs and climate change in order to maximize economic and employment benefits of policies in a just transition towards low-carbon, environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all. The guidelines also incorporate the International Labour Standards and stress on the need to ensure adequate, informed and ongoing consultation/social dialogue with all relevant stakeholders.

Since the climate change and response to climate challenges will affect workers, it is important that workers are not only made aware of but are also involved in the process of managing this transition towards green economy. This workshop is aimed at facilitating this with a focus on the mining sector.

This workshop will contribute towards:
  • Building the understanding of the trade union representatives on challenges posed by climate change for the world of work and review key issues in the mining sector for workers in this context;
  • Raise awareness on ILO’s Just Transition guidelines and its relevance for trade unions in addressing challenges posed by policies aimed at dealing with climate change (such as nationally determined contributions, clean energy, green jobs, etc);
  • Setting up network of workers’ representatives in the mining sector for operationalizing the Just Transition guidelines of ILO into concrete trade union agenda & proposals for social dialogue in mining sector.
The workshop will be comprised of the following key sessions:
  1. Changes in the world of work, Sustainable Development and Decent Work:  Introductory session aimed at building understanding on the linkages between working conditions,sustainable development and relevance of ILO's decent work agenda for environment, livelihoods and development and role of trade unions for promoting decent work and sustainable development..Country and Industry Situation Review: Presentation by MGB and DOLE to discuss industry and employment situation in mining sector, followed by Group Work focused on main labour and environmental challenges in the mining sector and country in general, linkages between these two areas, state of social dialogue and Tripartism in regard to dealing with environmental/climate change issues, in Mining, and related initiatives being undertaken by workers’ organizations.
  2. ILO's Just Transition Guidelines: Session to focus on key vision, guiding principles and type of policies proposed under ILO’s JT guidelines.
  3. Promoting Just Transition in the Mining Sector: Seeking Participation and Role, Not Just Safety Nets:  Sessions to focus on (a) Key issues facing workers in the mining sector; and (b) Union Agenda for Social Dialogue and Collective Bargaining for Decent Work and Just Transition in Mines.
  4. Developing follow-up work plans: Participants will work in groups to prepare follow-up work plan proposals aimed at - operationalizing union agenda for just transition in mines (steps for finalizing policy proposals for Just Transition, submissions to the tripartite fora or taken up in their collective bargaining agenda); advocacy and other actions to influence Government policies in this regard – this may include also: Establishment of National/Sectoral Network of workers’ representatives in the mining sector for advocacy and serving as capacity building platform on Just Transition issues.