Labour Standards and Trade
Message at the Labour Standards and Trade Forum of the ILO, European Union, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the EU-Philippines Business Network
By Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines, at the Labour Standards and Trade Forum of the ILO, European Union, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the EU-Philippines Business Network, 5 June 2018, Makati, Philippines
- OIC Secretary Lagunzad, Director Cucueco and officials of the Department of Labor and Employment,
- His Excellency Ambassador Jessen, Ms Yosuico and officials of the European Union Delegation in the Philippines;
- Atty. Enriquez of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines;
- Director Angeles and officials of the Department of Trade and Industry,
- Our partners from the government, employers and workers organizations,
- Distinguished guests and speakers, officials from the EU-Philippines Business Network, representatives from international organizations, civil society and the media;
- Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon to all of you!
The challenges of globalization have made international labour standards more relevant than ever. The ILO has a system of international labour standards since 1919. Indeed, the ILO will turn 100 years old next year, marking its Centenary.
International labour standards are crucial to ensure that trade and economic growth provide benefits to all based on decent work and social justice as affirmed in the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
The general principles of international labour standards are also highlighted in the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy or the MNE Declaration, which guides how enterprises can contribute to the realization of decent work through their operations around the world.
Promoting international labour standards is about respecting labour rights and human rights. Inequality not only affects productivity and competitiveness but it also breeds poverty, instability and even conflict. Poor working conditions, aside from the negative impact on workers and their families, can also jeopardize progress and damage business reputation.
International labour standards are first and foremost about the development of people. It brings positive effects and benefits including:
- increased productivity and competitiveness;
- a means to improve economic performance, reduce poverty, and promote good governance;
- fair and stable globalization through an international legal framework,
- a rights-based inclusive development and a level playing field in the global economy,
- safety nets in times of economic crisis,
- consensus by bringing global experience and knowledge for greater integration of the international community.
The ILO is grateful to the European Union, the European of Chamber and Commerce in the Philippines and the EU-Philippines Business Network for this partnership.
In relation to this, we have an ongoing partnerships on trade and employment with the EU, specifically the GSP+ on better application of Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining; the STRENGTHEN project which promotes coherence between trade and employment policies and decent work in the export value chains of the coconut industry; and the latest on Responsible Supply Chains in Asia using the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration) in enhancing respect for human rights, labour and environmental standards by businesses engaged in supply chains in Asia.
Today’s dialogue becomes more relevant with the complex interplay between trade, employment, value chains and core labour standards. Gaps and challenges remain between recognition of core labour standards and its application especially in global supply chains.
I think this is an opportunity to mention that the ILO is about to start a new project funded by the European Union entitled "Responsible Supply Chains in Asia" in collaboration with the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) using the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration).
The project aims to contribute to enhancing respect for human rights, labour and environmental standards by businesses engaged in supply chains in Asia. The project triangulate with the existing ILO projects on freedom of association and on trade and employment, both funded by the European Union.
The world of work is changing in an unprecedented scale. It is up to us to shape and to decide the future of work – a future that leaves no one behind and avoids a race to the bottom.
Your voices matter and we enjoin you to participate in this dialogue on trade and employment. You know the challenges and changes that confront European and Philippine businesses.
We hope that this open conversation on trade, investments and employment will continue even after this forum. Dialogue and cooperation among governments, employers and businesses, workers and trade unions and partners is central to create conditions for sustainable growth and fair trade and investments through decent work.