Manila, Philippines

Opening address at the Responsible labour practices to achieve inclusive and sustainable business in the rural sectors in fishing

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the Responsible labour practices to achieve inclusive and sustainable business in the rural sectors in fishing, 9 March 2022, Manila, Philippines

Statement | 09 March 2022
Warm greetings and welcome to this webinar!
  • Greetings to our government partners, the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Trade and Industry, Maritime Industry Authority, and the Philippine Coast Guard;
  • Mr Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr, Mr Roland Moya and officials of ECOP;
  • Partners from sectoral employers’ organizations and businesses in fishing;
  • Colleagues, participants, ladies and gentlemen. Good afternoon!
This is a joint International Labour Organization (ILO) - Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) webinar under the Project on Improving Workers’ Rights in the Rural Sectors of the Indo-Pacific with a focus on Women.

We thank the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) for its support, making this activity possible.

The Project aims to improve promotion and compliance to labour standards, occupational safety and health (OSH), and gender equality in rural sectors of agriculture, fishing and mining.

Specifically, this webinar, aims to raise awareness of benefits and importance of labour standards compliance to businesses, and provide a platform for dialogue between government and businesses on issuances and developments relevant to labour standards, OSH and gender equality, and its application.

The fishing industry employs over two million workers, engaged in various activities across its supply or value chain. The Philippines contributes over 50 per cent of global catch.1 It is among the world’s major tuna2 where women dominate the fish processing and canning.

Despite its contribution, the industry face various issues and nuances on labour standards compliance, OSH, and gender equality.3 Women in this sector face unique challenges, including OSH and maternity protection.

COVID-19 and climate change made working conditions even more difficult as it affected lives and livelihoods of fishing workers. Amidst these challenges, we see more trade policies and agreements linking labour standards compliance with market access.

Globally, there is a growing consumer demand for responsible business practices and due diligence including labour standards compliance across supply or value chains. Compliance to labour standards is good for businesses including fishing. It helps increase productivity and economic performance of enterprises, contrary to belief that it is costly.

Social dialogue also contributes to business sustainability when government, employers, and workers jointly address compliance gaps.

This webinar is a step towards enhanced social dialogue and engagement of the fishing industry for sustained compliance.

Your active participation can bring positive outcome making business stronger, improving working conditions, and leaving no one behind.

I wish you all a productive and successful webinar today. May the results of this engagement help make decent work a reality in the rural sector!

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1The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020 (fao.org), page 10
2The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020 (fao.org), page 86
3From the Gap Analysis of ILO Convention 188, Work in Fishing Convention, 2007, by the Institute of Labor Studies of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), cited in the official project document of the ILO Project on Improving Workers’ Rights in the Rural Sectors of the Indo-Pacific with a focus on Women.