Dole brags of ILO ‘approval’ of reforms

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

AFTER being tagged as one of the worst countries for workers by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) chose to boast of the "approval" it received from the International labor Organization (ILO).

In a statement, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said that while it got an opposition from the ITUC, what matters more is the approval the government received from the ILO - Committee on Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR).

"I have yet to look into the criteria used by the ITUC, but the CEACR's note of 'with satisfaction’ is a closure and its note of ‘with interest' is an indication of a positive direction," said Baldoz.

The labor chief said the country has already been noted by the ILO as "with satisfaction" or "with interest" in its observations on freedom of association and collective bargaining from 2010 to 2013.

She said the ITUC allegation of impunity and obstacles to the effective exercise of trade union rights was the subject of the ILO High Level Mission visit in the Philippines in 2009.

However, under the Aquino Administration, Baldoz stressed, has pursued reforms to uphold human rights, end impunity, and afford internationally recognized workers' rights to all its workers.

Baldoz also noted that 50 of the 62 alleged extrajudicial killings of trade unionists transpired between 2001 and June 2010, while the remaining 12 cases transpired under the Aquino Administration.

As for the settling of labor disputes, the Dole said the introduction of the Single Entry Approach (SEnA) has resulted to issues immediately being addressed at the first instance before it can even ripen into a full-blown worker-employer disagreement.

She also said the introduction of the indicative list of industries indispensable to the national interest, such as the hospital sector, electric power industry, water supply services, and air traffic control, as being contributory to the addressing of labor disputes.

Baldoz said this clears the issue on the claimed arbitrariness in the use of the assumption of jurisdiction power of the Secretary of Labor and overbroad criteria of "industries indispensable to the national interest."

In addition, with the ILO recognizing such efforts by the Philippine government in meeting the former's "decent-work indicators", Baldoz said it only proves that the country is on the right track in terms of labor rights.

"The sincerity of the current Administration can readily be seen in its effort to institutionalize reforms in the areas of prevention and protection and in the progress it has made over the last four years to address these decades-old issues on trade union rights," said Baldoz.

In its 2014 Global Rights Index, the ITUC ranked countries based on internationally recognized indicators to assess where workers' rights, such as democratic rights, decent wages, safer working conditions, and secure jobs, are best protected, in law and in practice.

The Philippines was placed in the five rated countries, which means that legislation protecting workers' rights are in place but that workers have effectively no access to such rights. (HDT/Sunnex)

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