Labour rights

Opening address at the “Empowering Workers for Labour Rights Compliance by All: Paralegal Training on Labour Rights and Labour Laws, Case Build-up, Documentation and Monitoring”

By Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines, at the “Empowering Workers for Labour Rights Compliance by All: Paralegal Training on Labour Rights and Labour Laws, Case Build-up, Documentation and Monitoring”, 6 to 8 July 2018, Davao City, Philippines

Statement | Davao City, Philippines | 06 July 2018
  • DOLE Regional Director Agravante and officials from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 11;
  • Ms Arago and officials of the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights;
  • Brothers and sisters from workers organizations and affiliate networks of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in Mindanao,
  • Former DOLE Undersecretary Chato,;
  • Distinguished guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
Thank you for your presence and participation in this 3-day paralegal training. The ILO is grateful to the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights for organizing this training here in Mindanao.

The ILO, with the support of the European Union, has an ongoing project, which contributes to better application of Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining in the Philippines.

The project, “Support GSP+ beneficiary countries to effectively implement International Labour Standards and comply with reporting obligations” or ILO EU GSP+ promotes effective application of 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). The project, as part of ILO assistance, further supports the Philippines to address recommendations of the ILO supervisory bodies.

Stronger freedom of association promotes social dialogue. The project, thus, engages all stakeholders - government, employers’ and workers’ organizations including the police and armed forces - in the spirit of dialogue based on social justice.

The training today intends to capacitate workers on labour rights, international labour standards, case build-up and documentation to effectively participate in investigative and monitoring mechanisms. This joint activity with CTUHR and KMU, with ILO support, specifically aimed at strengthening workers’ capacities on case documentation and monitoring cases of violations on trade union rights, is both timely and significant.

This activity implements the recommendations from the ILO supervisory bodies taking off from results achieved arising from the reforms, which included the establishment of investigative and monitoring mechanisms.

These are the Regional Tripartite Monitoring Bodies (RTMBs) convened by the Department of Labor and Employment; the AO35 Inter-agency Committee convened by the Department of Justice (DOJ); and the National Monitoring Mechanism (NMM) convened by the Commission on Human Rights.

Freedom of Association principles as basic human rights are echoed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in December 1948, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted in December 1966. ILO Convention 87 was adopted in July 1948 a few months before the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which sets human and labour rights.

In 1998, freedom of association and right to collective bargaining became part of the fundamental principles and rights at work, which requires all ILO members States to promote and to apply these principles, regardless of ratification.

Workers play a crucial role in promoting the principles of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining Rights as these principles support the development of unionism and better working conditions.

Organized labour and effective application of Freedom of Association and collective bargaining principles strengthen social dialogue and contribute in the enforcement labour standards including trade union rights compliance.

It is important to emphasize that without the free exercise of workers’ rights to organize and to bargain collectively as among the core labour standards in ILO’s fundamental principles and rights at work, the labour laws and standards cannot be genuinely sustained in the country.

We encourage that trade union representatives of KMU who are here today to contribute in strengthening freedom of association and engaging in national processes and the tripartite monitoring and investigative mechanisms to resolve cases of violations on workers’ civil liberties and trade union rights.

We are hopeful that through this project and our collaboration in this training, we can contribute to the resolution of pending cases through the national mechanisms, not only through the ILO processes, so that justice for the victims and families will be realized.

The ILO also takes note of the International Trade Union Confederation Report on Global Rights Index for 2018 which reiterated gaps and challenges in the Philippines application of freedom of association in the context of civil liberties and human rights. In this report, the Philippines was placed among the top 10 worst countries in the world for workers in terms of freedom of association and collective bargaining.

We hope that this project encourages our social partners to contribute to our collective goal of ensuring effective and better application of freedom of association and collective bargaining principles in the Philippines.

Next year, the ILO, which was founded before the United Nations and the oldest UN specialized agency will celebrate its Centenary or 100 years. There are Seven Centenary Initiatives, including the Future of Work, Governance and Standards Initiative. We look forward to positive developments in the application of standards in the Philippines that we can highlight and share for the ILO Centenary celebration next year.

Before closing, I would just like to mention that this endeavour will not be possible without the support and partnership of the European Union of which we are grateful under the ILO EU GSP+ project.

It is important to note that inclusive growth and sustainable development can prosper equitably with the promotion of international labour standards and decent work principles.

Again, thank you for your presence and participation. I wish you success and productive discussions in the next three days of training.

Daghang Salamat ug Maayong Buntag! (Many thanks and good morning)