Labour inspection

Opening address at the Luzon Capacity Building Workshop on Strategic Compliance

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the Luzon Capacity Building Workshop on Strategic Compliance, Manila, Philippines, 19 February 2018

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 19 February 2018
  • Undersecretary Maglunsod together with officials of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) - Director Cucueco, Director Benavidez, Director de Castro and Director Batino,
  • DOLE Regional Directors and Assistant Regional Directors for Luzon
  • Labour Representatives and Employers’ Representatives of the Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Council
  • Representatives from the ILO US Department of Labor (US DOL) Labour Inspection project partners, workers’ and employers’ organisations,
  • Ladies and gentlemen, good morning to all of you!
It has been nearly two and a half years since the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Country Office, with funding support from the United States Department of Labor, started implementation of a project on Building the Capacity of the Philippines’ Labour Inspectorate.

The Project’s main objective is to contribute to improved labour laws compliance mainly through two strategies - improving the effectiveness of labour inspections and improving the engagement of social partners on promoting workplace compliance to labour standards.

Since the Project started, we have worked closely with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), workers and employers’ organizations to support labour inspectorate reforms. Our work with partners included review of labour inspection procedures and protocols which contributed to the new labour inspection guidelines, ongoing enhancement of the labour inspection management information system, review of the job descriptions and performance metrics of labour inspectors to focus on core inspection work, initial capacity building of labour inspectors on illegal contracting and subcontracting, identification of training needs of labour inspectors and ongoing development of appropriate programmes, and development and implementation of separate capacity building programmes for workers and employers’ organizations on labour standards, the inspection system and their role in promoting compliance.

During this period, DOLE has undertaken reforms to strengthen the main function of a labour inspectorate, under the ILO Convention 81 on Labour Inspection Convention, which is to “secure the enforcement of the legal provisions relating to conditions of work and the protection of workers while engaged in their work, such as provisions relating to hours, wages, safety, health and welfare, the employment of children and young persons, and other connected matters, in so far as such provisions are enforceable by labour inspectors”. Government's more focused inspections and public campaigns on labour laws compliance during recent years was definitely challenging, and there could still be areas for further improvement, but what it has done was mainstream labour laws compliance in public discourse. It made workers more aware of their rights and what recourse they have should their rights be violated. It also made employers, especially medium scale and micro enterprises, of what their legal obligations are to ensure decent, safe and healthy working environments for their workers. It raised the profile of the Department of Labor and Employment and its regulatory and enforcement mandate over all labour standards, by virtue of the Labor Code. Most of all, the more focused conduct of labour inspections highlighted the importance of putting decent work in enterprise sustainability, growth and employment.

The more focused labour inspections has also given us a rich source of information on how compliance can be further improved, especially in specific sectors and on specific laws. With this series of area-wide Capacity Building Workshops on Strategic Compliance, the ILO hopes to provide DOLE a platform and an approach to strategically identify compliance priorities and interventions that would have a greater deterrent and more sustainable effect, based on inspection data and drawing on the strengths of both workers and employers’ organizations both at the national and regional levels. Hopefully this two-day workshop can provide social partners with an opportunity to frankly discuss compliance issues, identify root causes, appropriate strategies, and which of these strategies can be undertaken among all tripartite partners, jointly or individually. At the end of this workshop, we hope each region, can develop region-specific campaign plans, which can be further refined and monitored at the tripartite industry peace councils. We also hope that this event can provide a mechanism to further strengthen tripartite industry peace councils as they implement their region-specific compliance campaign plans.

The outputs of these workshops will also inevitably raise gaps which are beyond the scope of this Project and would still require further technical assistance from the ILO. As DOLE continues to implement labour inspectorate reforms by conducting labour inspections in special economic zones, expanding in vulnerable sectors such as agriculture, mining and fishing among others, and forging inter-agency partnerships to clarify mandates and protocols in the conduct of labour inspections, especially during workplace accidents, you can be rest assured that the ILO stands ready to extend its support.

In closing, let me take this opportunity to extend the ILO’s thanks to the Department of Labor and Employment, especially the Bureau of Working Conditions and all DOLE Regional Offices for their support in organizing this event.

I wish you all a productive Workshop.

Thank you!