The International Labor Organization recently celebrated 100 years of advancing social justice and decent work. The event also gathered partners to address challenges pertaining to basic rights of workers such as freedom of association and collective bargaining.
One of ILO’s staunch partners is the European Union and proof of this is the collaborative projects undertaken by the two organizations. Ambassador Franz Jessen of the EU Delegation to the Philippines lauded the projects which “promotes and advances the ILO International Labour Standards and Decent Work in the context of expanding trade and investments.”
The project outputs—tools, manuals, and reports—were presented at a Stakeholders’ Forum held during ILO’s Centenary celebration at The Manila Peninsula. Top representatives from the ILO, EU and tripartite partners from government and civil society were present and witnessed the unveiling of concrete outputs and results under the “EU GSP+ Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining (FoACB)” and “Strengthening the Impact of Trade on Employment in the Philippines (EU-STRENGTHEN).”
“ILO’s collaboration with the EU 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. This stakeholders’ forum is a step towards that direction,” said Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines. “As ILO marks 100 years, we continue to pursue a human-centered agenda for the future of work—one where increased investments in the institution of work are guaranteed through ensured collective representation of workers and employers through social dialogue.”
“The overall objective [of this launch] is to provide tripartite social partners with the tools to improve capacity in aiding laws and policies to better apply social dialogue, tripartism, and basic rights such as freedom of association and collective bargaining, that are essential to the enjoyment of decent work,” said Verna Dinah Viajar, project manager from the ILO Philippines.
Specific outputs under the FoACB include: a signed Manifesto of Commitment to respect and observe ILO Conventions 87 and 98 or the freedom of association and collective bargaining principles; the tripartite “2017-2022 National Action Plan on Freedom of Association”; Review of the Existing Mechanisms in Addressing Impunity; Employers’ Self-assessment Toolkit on Labour Standards Compliance in MSMEs; E-Learning Course on Labour Rights and Standards; and information video on freedom of association.
Outputs under the STRENGTHEN project, meanwhile, include the toolkit for assessing the effects of trade on employment and the “Country Report on the Impact of Trade on Employment in the Philippines” and the Assessment Toolkit on the Effects of Trade on Employment, which offered a comprehensive review of the trade policies that the government has pursued through the years, and how these varying sets of policies have affected trade and employment outcomes in the country in terms of its export performance, trade relations, and labour market structure, among others.
After 100 years, the ILO is more relevant than ever. The ILO continues to set standards in the world of work to achieve social justice and decent work for all. As signatory to the ILO core conventions on rights at work, it is important for the Philippines --- government, workers and employers -- to live up to its commitment. Human-centered innovations remain a focus for ILO to prepare for the future of work,” Viajar concluded.