COVID’s depredations continue –
lockdowns, quarantines, checkpoints; plant closures; jobs and livelihood lost; lost union members and dues; workers and their families getting sick, dying; and disrupting union operations. A number of employers are taking advantage of the pandemic, assaulting workers rights and unions
He cited NTUC Phl activities and achievements since August 2020.
* Joint Women and Youth Assemblies in Aug 2020, June 2021 and Aug 2021 to review progress in their Consolidated Action Agenda and to plan next steps; to hear progress and successes in the ITUC AP DGB BW ATUC project
on Increasing women and youth participation in trade unions and society;
and discuss progress on actions in the 2018-2020 NTUC Phl/JILAF Conclusions and Recommendations.
He noted that women and youth now lead NTUC Phl activities, in line with the intention to build more women and young leaders for the future of NTUC.
* NTUC implemented 4 batches of JILAF webinars on employment security and industrial relations – in October 2020 and June 2021. These seminars – online since 2020 – enable another venue for discussion and exchange of experience among resource persons, including from JILAF, DOLE agencies, ILO, PEZA, NTUC Phl leaders, women and youth trainees, and others on socio-economic, sectoral and labor issues.
* NTUC Phl started in December 2020 the progress training of 35 prospective women and youth leaders nominated by their federations. – NTUC’s answer to the challenge of the future of decent work.
* On April 28, 2021, NTUC held a joint celebration of the international day of mourning for dead and injured workers and labor day.
Discussions were made on the effects of COVID-19 on organizing and collective bargaining, as well as issues and challenges where trade unions need to concentrate studies and negotiations amidst the pandemic.
The women and youth committees also presented on the same day the results of their analysis of CBAs – ‘good’ women and youth provisions, as they call them, as well as noteworthy political and economic provisions which could be pursued in the pandemic.
Despite the pandemic, NTUC Phl and its affiliates continue building forward together:
NTUC and its affiliates have gone online. NTUC held its first online meeting of its general council days after lockdown. Other activities, including webinars and representations, have been held online. Federations and local unions are holding their own online seminars and programs.
Representations, in Congress, tripartite agencies —national labor advisory bodies TIPC and its executive committee TEC, regional wage-fixing RTWPBs — and other forums, have continued, whether online or on social media.
* Affiliated federations have new locals, negotiated and renewed CBAs, despite the difficulties. Wages and economic benefits have not been raised, or raised only a little. Others have bargained good women and youth provisions, on climate change, and many others.
* A testament to the dynamism of NTUC and its affiliates — actions continue against endo; low wages; wayward laws and regulations, inflation, and COVID; imports of rice and other essential goods which victimize farmers and workers; failing governance; and massive corruption …
* As symbol of solidarity in the continuing fight of our sisters and brothers in Myanmar CTUM and the people of Myanmar for democracy and against violence and oppression, the President and the participants displayed the three-finger salute.
He expressed appreciation for assistance from ILO, ITUC AP, ATUC and other solidarity support organizations, including DGB Bildungswerk, for NTUC Phl activities and programs.
Affiliate FFF (Federation of Free Farmers) reported in length about the notable actions and representations of the federation and their affiliates and cooperatives in the agriculture and food sector.
Greetings were made by the ITUC AP General Secretary, the ATUC President, ILO Manila Director, RENGO President, Memur Sen, among other organizations.
2nd NTUC Phl review conference on ratification of ILO Convention 190
NTUC Phl held its 2nd review conference on ratification of ILO Convention 190 on Aug 18. Resource persons outlined the gaps in Philippine laws and regulations xxx with the Convention (by the ILS/DOLE director); the challenges and approaches to the ratification of the Convention (former DOLE undersecretary B. Bitonio; and NTUC Phl’s actions since 2018 dating back to the gender-based violence campaigns, including negotiating violence and harassment provisions in CBAs (NTUC Phl’s WaY committees). NTUC Phl stressed Philippine laws and regulations need not be perfect prior to ratification, pointing out the prospective nature of Convention provisions: “[E]ach Member shall adopt laws, regulations and policies ensuring the right to equality and non-discrimination in employment and occupation, including for women workers, as well as for workers xxx that are disproportionately affected by violence and harassment in the world of work.” (Article 6).
DOLE announced the issuance of DOLE Administrative Order No. 166, Series 2021 on July 28, 2021, creating the DOLE-Technical Working Committee to lead in the preparation of the ratification of ILO Convention 190. NTUC had written the DOLE Secretary (Minister) on July 14 pressing ratification as his moral responsibility with his election as chair of the ILO government group in July 2021.
* In January 2020, NTUC Phl had written the DOLE Secretary to start the process for the ratification of ILO Convention 190 on violence and harassment in the world of work. Five affiliates of NTUC followed up with their separate letters of concern. DOLE did start the process, but progress has been disappointing.
NTUC Phl’s National preparatory workshop for a workplace guide
to enterprise-based mechanisms against violence and harassment
NTUC’s local unions are carrying out actions in companies even if ratification has not happened. This is part of ITUC AP, DGB Bildungswerk, Asean Trade Union Council project on increasing women and youth participation.
Eleven local unions so far have proposed discussions and negotiations with their employers to craft enterprise-based mechanisms against violence and harassment. Five of these eleven unions already have CBA provisions mandating the process. Five others, as of June 2021, are in negotiations for this C190 initiative, among other good women and youth provisions found in our NTUC study of CBAs.
An EBM Guide under preparation will help affiliates in negotiations with employers on enterprise-based mechanisms (EBM) against violence and harassment.