Labour laws compliance system

Welcome Remarks at the Region IV-A Labour Laws Compliance System (LLCS) Summit

By Mr Rene Robert, on behalf of Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the Region IV-A Labour Laws Compliance System (LLCS) Summit, Laguna, 23 June 2016

Statement | Laguna, Philippines | 23 June 2016
  • DOLE Region IVA Regional Director, Zenaida Angara-Campita
  • DOLE Bureau of Working Conditions Director, Atty. Alvin Curada
  • Members of the Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Council, and; (RTIPC)
  • Representatives from management and workers
  • Ladies and gentlemen, a very good morning to you!
 The International Labour Organization Country Office for the Philippines (ILO CO-Manila) is proud to be working with the tripartite partners under the ILO and United States Department of Labor Project on Building the Capacity of the Philippines’ Labour Inspectorate System.

Labour inspection is a key pillar of an effective system of labour administration. It serves many purposes including enforcing labour and related social legislation, providing advice to workers and employers’ on existing standards, promoting a culture of prevention and compliance, and providing feedback on the effectiveness of laws and policies. 

Both workers and employers benefit from a well-coordinated, professional and efficient labour inspectorate system. For workers, compliance ensures decent, safe and healthy workplaces.  For employers, a culture of compliance helps level the playing field while reducing conflicts and risks at the workplace, and their associated costs.

Due to the crucial role of labour inspection in labour market governance, two of the ILO’s four Governance Conventions deal with the labour inspection. These are ILO Convention 81 on Labour Inspection in Commerce and Industry and ILO Convention 129 on Labour Inspection in Agriculture. 

Both Conventions set the minimum internationally acceptable standards for an effective labour inspectorate system and I will present to you their key elements in a few moments. The ILO is encouraged that the Government is reviewing these instruments in light of national law and practice and we stand ready to assist DOLE in its continued efforts towards the ratification of these two priority Conventions (in fact the only two Governance Conventions still unratified by the Philippines).

Earlier this month at the International Labour Conference in Geneva, tripartite partners from around the world discussed the important topic of decent work in global supply chains. The report and discussion underscored the importance of an effective labour inspectorate system. The committee’s conclusions recommended as a way forward “further research and analysis, mapping of good practices and knowledge sharing on employment and conditions of work in global supply chains… to identify governance approaches that have been effective in promoting labour inspection and workplace compliance systems and establishing innovative social dialogue mechanisms”.

In recent years, tripartite partners in the Philippines have taken steps towards aligning the country’s labour inspectorate system with international labour standards with the implementation of the Labour Laws Compliance System (LLCS). We have witnessed the hiring of more Labour Laws Compliance Officers (LLCOs), the computerisation of labour inspection service, development of sector-specific checklists, and initial efforts to harmonize and strengthen DOLE technical advisory programmes with inspection activities.  More intensive compliance actions and data gathering have also contributed to policy making, with the issuing of policies on working conditions in sectors such as security, the entertainment and movie industries, debt collection services and fishing.  We are also pleased to note tripartite endorsement of the proposed LLCS Bill and current efforts by DOLE to prepare partners for the ratification of ILO Conventions Nos. 81 and 129.

At the core however of the LLCS, which makes it a unique model, is how it seeks the meaningful involvement of management and workers at the enterprise level in the assessment process as well as the monitoring of remediation plans. With this worker and employer engagement, the assessment process becomes more transparent. It also provides a unique opportunity for social dialogue towards mutual understanding and improved compliance within an enterprise.  However, crucial to meaningful engagement by both parties to the process, is genuine representation. Thus, one of the initial activities of the ILO Labour Inspection Project was a workshop for workers to develop proposed guidelines for determining worker representation and participation in the LLCS process. The revised LLCS Rules have incorporated some of those recommendations, further broadening transparency and participation in the process.

Also critical to the success of LLCS implementation is a process of regular tripartite review and discussion at the regional, industry and national levels.  The regional LLCS Summits, which we hope can be institutionalized after this Project, are critical to engaging DOLE officials, including LLCOs, workers and employers at the regional, industry and enterprise levels, in open dialogue on how to address sectoral compliance issues and how to ensure that inspection strategies and DOLE technical advisory services take into account regional and sectoral context.

Region IVA for instance faces the challenges of covering a large number of diverse establishments. This region also has one of the highest number of special economic zones at 48, where labour inspection presents unique challenges. But at the same time, one advantage of Region IV-A are its healthy and vibrant tripartite structures at the regional and industry levels. The discussion on compliance issues and industry-specific inspection strategies for those in manufacturing, in the special economic zones, the education, health and construction sectors would surely benefit from Region’s strong foundations on tripartism and social partner engagement.

At the end of this two day event, the ILO hopes you will be more familiar with ILO Conventions 81 and 129, so that we can assist you in aligning national law and practice with these Conventions. We also hope the activity generates useful feedback on the amended LLCS Rules. Lastly, we hope this will become part of a regular discussion on workplace compliance and inspection trends in your region.

Our work as partners in this Project will not stop here, however. Additional activities will feed into revisions of the assessment checklists, development of sectoral inspection protocols and guidelines, the development of information materials and strategies, capacity building of LLCOs and of workers and employers representatives to better engage in the LLCS process.

Improving the country’s labour inspectorate is a work in progress, but tripartism at all levels will help find common solutions that will reconcile employers’ concern for improved competitiveness and productivity, while realizing the goals of social justice and decent work for all.

In closing, let me take this opportunity to extend the ILO’s thanks to DOLE Region IVA and DOLE Bureau of Working Conditions for their hard work in organizing this event.

I wish you all a productive Summit.

Mabuhay and maraming salamat!