Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in the Philippines

JILAF and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) jointly held an industrial relations and labour policy seminar, titled “Building Constructive Industrial Relations in the Philippines and Aiming for Job Stability and Fair Distribution,” in Pasay, Metropolitan Manila, on May 13–14. The seminar, which was being held for the first time in the current fiscal year ahead of other countries, was attended by about 120 people involved in labour administration, including enterprise-based union officials from four Japanese companies. TUCP President Ernesto F. Herrera, Director Benjo Santos M. Benavidez of the Bureau of Labour Relations of the Philippine government’s Department of Labour and Employment, and Second Secretary Hiroyuki Enoki of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines also participated.
The seminar featured lectures by TUCP officials and outside speakers on such topics as industrial relations in Japanese companies in the Philippines, employment and industrial relations in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines, the TUCP’s policies on industrial relations and employment, and socioeconomic development and the social role of the labour movement. It was a good opportunity to think about the causes of industrial disputes and methods of solution.
The main causes of industrial disputes in the Philippines, where the unionization rate remains low at about 8.5%, are (1) disputes concerning union recognition, (2) disputes concerning the fair distribution of corporate profits, and (3) disputes concerning fixed-term employment contracts. The participants voiced many opinions and demands regarding such matters as (1) the methods of collective bargaining and labour-management consultations, (2) the contempt for unions among midlevel managers in the Philippines and slipshod labour management, and (3) improvement of the poor working environment. In particular, Vice-President Karen Ann Tangonan of the BPO Workers’ Association of the Philippines, which has been achieving spectacular growth recently, introduced problems in the BPO industry, including the unfriendly attitude of employers toward the establishment of unions, long working hours and unregulated labour, high turnover rate, adverse health affects, and unfair dismissals. She urged the need for organization by the TUCP toward protection of the more than one million workers employed in this industry.
In response, JILAF Deputy Secretary General Ryo Saito stressed the importance of understanding between labour and management on a daily basis and explained that Japan’s experience in the transformation of industrial relations to a harmonious balance between cooperation through labour-management consultations and confrontation through collective bargaining would be useful for the stabilization of industrial relations in Asian countries, including industrial relations in multinational companies.
Furthermore, amid the widening of economic disparities and expansion of the informal economy, Deputy Secretary General Saito pointed out the importance of creating a foundation for employment in the Philippines and said it was urgent for trade unions, while maintaining the sympathy of society and union members for the movement, to contribute to political stability and to make industrial policy proposals to the government, employers’ organizations, and others, such as the creation of sustained jobs centered on the manufacturing industry and based on the building of constructive industrial relations, toward the creation and stability of domestic employment.

Schedule

DateContents
05/13TueIndustrial relations seminar day 1:
“Industrial Relations in Japanese Companies in the Philippines”
“The TUCP’s Policies on Industrial Relations and Employment”
“Socioeconomic Development and the Social Role of the Labour Movement”
“Employment and Industrial Relations in the BPO Industry in the Philippines”
05/14WedIndustrial relations seminar day 2:
Panel discussion on the Philippine Development Plan
“The Fair Distribution of Profits and the TUCP’s Role”
Mutual discussions, etc.

Photos of Participants

Address by TUCP President Ernesto F. Herrera

Discussion with union officials from Japanese companies

Lecture by TUCP General Secretary Cedric R. Bagtas