Freedom of Association

GSP+ beneficiary countries to effectively implement International Labour Standards and comply with reporting obligations

The project, funded by the European Commission, contributes to better application of freedom of association and right to collective bargaining in the Philippines, focusing on measures to better address allegations concerning violation of workers’ rights in the context civil liberties.

The Philippines is among the beneficiaries of the Generalised Scheme of Preference or GSP+ of the European Union. It is the only country granted such an arrangement within South-East Asia since December 2014. The GSP+ or special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance grants zero duties for essentially the same 66 per cent tariff lines for countries, which ratify and effectively implement 27 core international human rights, labour rights and other sustainable development and good governance conventions.

The Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98) are key ILO Conventions ratified by the Philippines. Workers right to self-organization as institutions to achieve social justice and equity is a major policy in the Philippines as enshrined in the Constitution. Challenges however remain in the effective application of enabling policies and international commitments.

The Philippine government, through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), officially accepted the ILO High-Level Mission, which took place in September 2009 and the Direct Contacts Mission held in February 2017 upon the request of the Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS). Both missions are part of the ILO’s technical assistance towards effective application of the ratified conventions.

While several policy reforms, measures and mechanisms have been introduced to implement recommendations of the 2009 High Level Mission, the 2017 Direct Contacts mission and 2016 Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) observations highlighted remaining concerns regarding numerous allegations of anti-union violence and lack of progress in the investigations and legislative reforms. The Direct Contacts Mission conclusions and recommendations categorized the issues into three main groups, specifically, those relating to civil liberties and trade union rights; legislative issues and promotion of a climate conducive to freedom of association.

The EU GSP + project, funded by the European Commission, incorporates relevant recommendations, while building upon gains achieved from ILO assistance and other measures particularly on the civil liberties and trade union rights involving violence against trade unionists, including extra-judicial killings (EJKs). The project will also seek to strengthen compliance of freedom of association, collective bargaining and labour rights in the context of expanded trade and investments.

Project objectives:

For further information please contact:

Ms Verna Dinah Viajar
Project Manager
ILO EU GSP+ Project

ILO Country Office for the Philippines
19th Floor, Yuchengco Tower
6819 Ayala Avenue Makati City
1200 Philippines
Tel: +63 2 580 9900
Email