Labour inspection

ILO and DOLE hold area wide consultations on labour inspection

The ILO, through the USDOL funded project on Building the Capacity of the Philippines’ Labour Inspectorate has conducted a series of area-wide consultations to validate the gap analysis for ILO Conventions on labour inspection and the Proposed Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS) Bill.

News | 30 September 2016
By: Cerilyn Pastolero, Project Officer
Building the Capacity of the Philippine Labour Inspectorate
ILO Country Office for the Philippines

The ILO, through the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) funded project on Building the Capacity of the Philippines’ Labour Inspectorate has conducted a series of area wide consultations to validate the gap analysis for the Labour Inspection, Convention 1947 (No. 81) and the Labour Inspection (Agriculture), Convention 1969 (No. 129) and the Proposed Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS) Bill.

The series of area wide consultations, in cooperation with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) were held on 25, 27 and 29 July 2016. This is in support of tripartite partners’ (government, employers and workers) priorities, under the proposed Philippine Labor and Employment Plan for 2017-2022, to strengthen labour inspection as a means of promoting compliance to labour standards. Over 220 participants representing workers, employers, labour inspectors and DOLE regional officials, as well as officials from attached agencies of DOLE, attended the consultations held in Davao, Cebu and Manila.

ILO Convention Nos 81 and 129 are the only governance Conventions which the Philippines has not yet ratified. Both Conventions provide a framework for an effective labour inspectorate system, which is critical to the enforcement of existing standards and serve as a feedback mechanism to the responsiveness of these standards.

Representatives from the government, workers and employers organizations who attended the consultations were unanimous in supporting the ratification of both Conventions and passage of the proposed LLCS Bill, as a means to institutionalize recent reforms in the country’s labour inspection system or the Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS).

The LLCS is unique in the region since inspections are conducted in a tripartite manner, with the participation of the labour inspector, and both employers representatives and workers’ representatives. Furthermore, under the LLCS, workers’ representatives should have access to the results of the inspection, so they can monitor implementation of any remedial action necessary. However, the LLCS is merely a Department Order, and maybe changed by the Executive.

Once the gap analysis for both Conventions is refined given the inputs from these consultations, this will be presented to other relevant bureaus and agencies attached to DOLE for further comments, before they are endorsed to the Tripartite Executive Committee and the National Tripartite Executive Industrial Peace Council, for official endorsement to the Office of the President.

Recently, Senator Joel Villanueva, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources also requested for a briefing from the ILO on priority international labour standards for ratification or for action, including ILO Convention Nos 81 and 129 and the proposed LLCS Bill, to guide the Committee in their legislative priorities.

Mr Rene Robert, the ILO Regional Specialist on Labour Administration and Labour Inspection presented highlights of both Conventions. Key provisions of both Conventions include:
  • Supervision and control of a central authority on labour inspection, but allowing for cooperation with other public or private institutions which also have inspection functions, to avoid overlaps and to coordinate the conduct of inspections
  • Collaboration between the labour inspectorate and workers and employers’ organizations’
  • Powers and core functions of a labour inspector such as free access to workplaces, carrying out of investigations, providing measures to remedy defects (especially in cases of imminent danger), and provide warning, advice or initiate legal proceedings.
  • Stability of employment and meritocracy in the selection and promotion of labour inspectors, to ensure their independence
  • Labour inspectors should also be provided adequate facilities to be able to perform their work effectively, and that;
  • Any further functions performed by labour inspectors should not interfere with their core functions
While Convention No. 81 covers commerce and industry, Convention No. 129 covers a broad range of agricultural businesses such as “undertakings and parts of undertakings engaged in cultivation, animal husbandry including livestock production and care, forestry, horticulture, the primary processing of agricultural products by the operator of the holding or any other form of agricultural activity”. Convention No. 129 also allows prior approval of the operator of an agricultural undertaking, before a labour inspector can access his or her private home. This is in recognition of the nuance in many agricultural enterprises, where what is considered as the “work place” is also the private abode of the employer.