The two batches of webinars on Employment Security Labor Relations with the theme “Human-Centred Future of Work and Work Relations in the Time of the Pandemic” were conducted with the support of Japan International Labour Foundation (JILAF) in four hours in four afternoons Zoomed from Quezon City on 14-17 and 21-24 June 2021 Connecting from home, offices, union offices, even workplaces, NTUC Phl unionists served from Quezon City tackled issues on human-centered development as the country wrestled with the continuing challenges of COVID-19 15 months under at times harsh community quarantine.
Resource persons and participants noted large reversals in gains from decades of struggle for decent work and against inequality and cobbled center, federation, local union interventions and programs to cope with uncertainties spawned by COVID-19 and wayward responses by employers and government.
Participants appreciated the sharing of experiences of other countries, noted good practices from Japan, and wished successful interventions were implemented in the country.
The 126 participants in the two webinars (45% women, 35% youth, 26% from Japanese companies) represented fifteen national trade unions and one associated national union, unions in six Japanese manufacturing enterprises in special economic zones and other unions inside and outside the zones from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The workshops presented and discussed important concerns, issues, challenges, and experiences in NTUC Phl and its affiliates’ struggle for “Human-Centered Development in the Time of the Pandemic”:
(1) “COVID-19 in Japan” by JILAF Director NAOHIRO TSUJI;
(2) “Japanese Industrial Relations and Employment” by JILAF Programme Manager KOJI MORISHITA;
(3) “The Economy and Industrial Relations with COVID-19: NTUC Phl Perspective” by NTUC Phl HGS CEDRIC BAGTAS;
(4) “Labor Market and Industrial Relations with C19” by BLR/DOLE Atty. Ramon Saura III;
(5) “Trends and Challenges in Industrial Relations with C19” by Atty. BENEDICTO ERNESTO BITONIO;
(6) “OSH Advisories and Orders in C19” by BWC/DOLE Chief LEO NICANOR BON and DR. FELIX LABANDA
(7) “The New Future of Work” by ERC TOPPS REYMILY STA. ANA and ILO Manila Programme Officer DIANE LYN RESPALL;
(8) “Transitioning to the Post-COVID 19 Normal” by BWSC/DOLE Senior LEO ZYDNEY LANZ CRESINO and LEO III CYRUS POLICARPIO;
(9) “Labor Relations in Special Economic Zones and BPOs in C19” by HGS CEDRIC BAGTAS and PEZA Deputy Zone Administrator ALLAN DATAHAN;
(10) “C-19 Measures in Japanese Companies in EPZs” video presentation by Obrero Pilipino;
(11) ”IT-BPM (BPO)s in C19” by ERC PFL Executive Vice President Angelita Senorin;
(12) “Challenges in Education and Social Dialogue” by NATOW Dr. AVELINO CARAAN, JR. and TOPPS General Secretary MARIA TERESA AGUSTIN;
(13)”Transition to Green Sustainable Jobs, Productivity and Climate Change with C19” by NWPC-DOLE Director II Atty. ALVIN CURADA; “Business Resiliency Planning and Management” by NWPC/DOLE Deputy Executive Director JEANETTE DAMO.
NTUC Phl Treasurer and NATOW General Secretary MILAGROS OGALINDA led the discussions on the Objectives of the workshops; the Conclusions and Recommendations AND What Have Been Accomplished from the 2018-2020 workshops; and the 2021 Conclusions and Recommendations.
Workshop groups considered inputs from NTUC Phl and affiliates and recommended/pledged actions at the national, federation and local levels on issues from 2018-2020, including local-level action on the targets for advocacy and activities in 2021.
NTUC Phl President RODOLFO CAPOQUIAN cited the need to further invigorate trade union work, complicated by COVID-19, as unions intensify advocacy and actions for safe workers, workplaces and communities, continuing relief and assistance, workers participation in national affairs, including the IATF. He expressed appreciation for the continuing role of JILAF in “building leaders, strengthening unions, contributing to our on-going activities to improve conditions of work and life of workers, their families and communities” through these seminars which “disseminate information, build knowledge and skills for trade union work, and help review our progress and what we have achieved in our activities.”
He voiced the participants’ pledge to accept “xxx the responsibility to learn, to help others with our learning, to build enabling industrial relations environment, to strengthen solidarity, to apply social dialogue and advance democracy.”
He reiterated NTUC Ph’s Solidarity messages for Myanmar’s struggle for democracy, as well as calling again for ratification of ILO Convention 190 on violence and harassment in the world of work.
JILAF President HIROYUKI NAGUMO (through JILAF Deputy Secretary General TOSHIKAZU SAITO) pointed to the JILAF seminars which have taking place in many countries for many years, including those in the Philippines which started in 1991. He expressed concern about increasing COVID cases in the Philippines which is affecting the economy, employment and trade union activities. He pointed out that for sustainable growth, programs should emphasize people, focus on people and vitality. He wishes that the participation in discussions would be of use to participants, their unions and relations with enterprises.
the role of interaction among JILAF, resource persons and participants in stable labor-management relations, strengthening democratic labor, improving workers conditions. Philippines has its strengths, including young population, which contribute to the economy, but also bring about disparity between rich and poor, environmental destruction, and youth unemployment
The First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines CHIHIRO KANNO noted that we are “living in one of toughest times”, need to adapt to new realities, and transition to the new future of work in a fair and just manner. He stressed that social dialogue and continued cooperation could lead to economic, labor and social gains. He pointed out that continued investment is an indication of belief in competencies and talent of Filipino workers. He cited the role of JILAF in disseminating insights on Japanese industrial relations which could improve labor-management relations.
The women and youth representatives of participants in the two webinars expressed appreciation for the workshops, that they learned many things, which they will share with others. They will re-echo their learning in their local unions.