Opening address at the webinar-workshop on decent work in global supply chains

By Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the webinar-workshop on decent work in global supply chains, 20 November 2020, Manila, Philippines via Zoom

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 20 November 2020
  • Our partners from the EU led by First Counsellor Cellini;
  • Dean Aldaba officials and student representatives from the Ateneo de Manila University;
  • Colleagues from the ILO,
  • Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
A warm welcome to this webinar workshop on decent work in global supply chains. Thank you for your support and participation in this activity. We are grateful to the Ateneo de Manila University for this collaboration and to the European Union for the continued support.

This activity will provide you, our dear students as future business leaders, with a better understanding about decent work, international labour standards, and corporate social responsibility/responsible business conduct.

Likewise, you will get to know about global supply chains and their operations. With these information, we hope that you would be able to reflect and analyze the impact of global supply chains on decent work.

Over the last decades, the global economy and the world of work have been deeply influenced by the increase of global supply chains.

This production model provided new opportunities for developing countries such as the Philippines as they have created employment opportunities for economic and social development. There is also evidence, however that the dynamics of production and employment relations within the global economy and in some supply chains can have negative implications on decent working conditions. It is for this reason that global supply chains are an issue of great interest, relevance and concern to ILO.

The ILO, as the first specialized agency of the United Nations promotes decent work, and advances social justice. International labour standards provide policy framework for the ILO’s work.

These international labour standards are broadly aimed at ensuring accessible, productive, and sustainable work worldwide in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity. They are set forth in 190 Conventions and 206 Recommendations. Eight Conventions are classified as fundamental based on the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

Many ILO instruments adopted since 1919 touch upon global supply chains. Labour-related and social policy issues were among those concerns, which gave rise to MNEs. The ILO Governing Body adopted the MNE Declaration over 40 years ago and amended several times, most recently in 2017.

The MNE Declaration is the only ILO instrument that provides direct guidance to enterprises (multinational and national) on social policy and inclusive, responsible and sustainable workplace practices. It gained momentum as efforts to attract and boost foreign direct investments.

The promotion of decent work in global supply chains is seen critical now within the context of COVID-19, with its threat to employers and workers.

The ILO calls for urgent and significant policy responses to protect both enterprises, and workers during this time. Large-scale, integrated, policy measures are needed, focusing on four pillars to stimulate the economy and jobs; support enterprises, employment and incomes; protect workers in the workplace including occupational safety and health; and, use social dialogue between government, workers and employers to find solutions.

The MNE Declaration provides clear guidance on how enterprises can contribute and help build back better. It is also part of the Decent Work Country Programme Philippines as a roadmap to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth through decent work.

I hope that this webinar workshop will equip you with knowledge and inspire you to contribute towards promoting responsible business conduct and making decent work a reality for all. This is a key step in building a better future of work.

I look forward to the results of this workshop, and wish you a successful and productive discussion.

Thank you!