National policy on ILO Convention Nos. 87 and 98

Strengthening unionism and collective bargaining in the Philippines: A strategy paper

Freedom of association and the rights to organize and to collective bargaining are universally acknowledged as potent instruments to promote decent terms and conditions of work and achieve harmony between workers and employers in the workplace. The promotion of unionism and collective bargaining as institutions to achieve social justice and equity is a major State policy in the Philippines. This is enshrined in the Constitution. The primary enabling law to promote it is the Labor Code.

The institutional model of unionism and collective bargaining is founded on three premises: (a) a person must first be employed to acquire the right to form or join a union; (b) an employee must belong to a bargaining unit of his or her employer to be represented in collective bargaining; and (c) the union and collective bargaining structure is decentralized and enterprise-based.

In the context of ILO Convention Nos. 87 and 98, there is a need to consider an expanded range of strategic options to foster the State policy and to make trade unionism and collective bargaining relevant to the times. To effectively address this need, the role of legislation as a vehicle for institutional reform cannot be overemphasized.