GSP+ trade and employment

Opening Address at the Stakeholders’ Forum on Presentation of Outputs of ILO-EU Collaboration on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining and on Trade and Employment

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the Stakeholders’ Forum on Presentation of Outputs of ILO-EU collaboration on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining and on Trade and Employment, Manila, Philippines, 11 April 2019

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 11 April 2019
  • Assistant Secretary Benavidez, Director Bacay and officials of the Department of Labor and Employment;
  • Director Perlada and officials of the Department of Trade and Industry;
  • His Excellency Ambassador Jessen of the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines;
  • Director-General Moya, and employers representatives;
  • Atty. Matula and our brothers and sisters from workers organizations;
  • Project partners, media representatives, distinguished guests;
  • Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
Thank you for joining the ILO’s 100th Anniversary celebration in the Philippines. We are honoured with your presence.

To Ambassador Jessen, we appreciate much your support and we are extremely grateful to the European Union for the partnership to advance social justice and to promote decent work in the country.

Let me also express our gratitude to the tripartite partners – government, employers and workers for their support and commitment. It is through their recommendation that we are holding this Stakeholders’ Forum on Presentation of Outputs of ILO-EU collaboration on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining and on Trade and Employment.

Fundamental principles and rights at work comprising international labour standards are at the heart of ILO’s work since 1919. Freedom of association and collective bargaining are core ILO values.

The right to freedom of association has been enshrined in the ILO Constitution in 1919, reiterated in the ILO Declaration of Philadelphia in 1944, and strengthened as among the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in the 1998 ILO Declaration. It has also been proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

ILO’s collaboration with the European Union under the Trade, Employment and Freedom of Association projects, promotes and advances International Labour Standards and decent work in the context of expanding trade and investments.

Today, we are pleased to report results of this partnership with the EU by enhancing institutions, harnessing opportunities, and equipping them with tools for decent and sustainable work.

New forces are transforming the world of work as underscored in the Global Commission Report on the Future of Work. We have to invest in people’s capabilities, in institutions of work, and in decent and sustainable work.

A human-centred agenda for the future of work is crucial, guided by a rights-based approach. All actors – including governments, workers, employers and multilateral institutions – will have a role to play. We are not advocating an overnight change. This will take time.

This stakeholders’ forum is a step towards that direction as we present to you concrete outputs and results under the EU GSP+ Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining and EU STRENGTHEN Trade and Employment Projects, as well as tackle challenges to be addressed collectively.

Both projects started in 2016. Since then, the ILO, DOLE and EU GSP+ collaboration has led to a Manifesto of Commitment to respect and observe the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98); and formulation of the “2017-2022 National Action Plan on Freedom of Association” a living document that is regularly being discussed and monitored in the Tripartite Executive Committee of the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council.

The project also contributed to the following tools that we will launch and present today a review of mechanisms on workers’ civil liberties and trade union rights; an employers’ “Diagnostics of Compliance with Labour Standards: A Checklist for Small Enterprises”.

By the end of the month, we will also issue a “Workers Training Manual on Freedom of Association”; a Training Manual on Labour Rights and Standards for the Commission on Human Rights; and the DOLE e-Learning Course on Labour Rights and Standards. The initial chapters of the e-course will be demonstrated later.

The STRENGTHEN Project, which is also funded by the European Union (EU) has come up with tools to assist stakeholders and policy makers. These tools will help ensure a coherent policy framework to generate and upgrade employment.

The toolkit on assessing the effects of trade on employment is now available online, which can be used to address questions such as, “How many jobs are expected to be created or destroyed as a result of a given trade policy?”

The toolkit offers intuitive, simple and low-cost methods by making data available to analyze anticipated effects of a given trade policy on employment.

The STRENGTHEN project will also soon publish- the “Country Report on the Impact of Trade on Employment in the Philippines”. The Report presents how trade policies have impacted decent work and employment outcomes in the Philippines. The report also analyzed links between trade policy and decent work principles and how it can be strengthened to benefit more people.

The Report can help guide economic planners, policy-makers, development specialists, labour advocates, researchers and others working to make trade result in more employment, improved working conditions and better socio-economic outcomes.

While these are concrete outputs, we cannot also discount steps taken by the government, workers and employers in strengthening social dialogue and the promotion of the 2011/2012 Guidelines led by the DOLE, with DILG, DOJ, AFP, PNP, DND, CHR and PEZA.

These agencies collaborated to strengthen coordination on labour relations and to institutionalize the Guidelines and international labour standards in their training programme.

Again, all these results will not be possible without the support and commitment of our tripartite partners – government, workers and employers, as well as the partnership with the European Union.

Happy ILO Centenary and I wish you all a productive and successful forum.

Thank you!