52-Man labor contingent set to meet with ILO team

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A 52-man contingent will represent labor groups before the International Labor Organization-High Level Tripartite Mission (ILO-HLTM), which will arrive in the country on Monday.

In an SMS, Federation of Free Workers (FFW) Vice President Julius Cainglet said the contingent will include representatives from both local and international labor groups.

The Mission will be interviewing the members of the contingent at the Makati Diamond Residences.  “This is the official and only time the HLTM [will have] with workers,”Cainglet said.

During the event, he said the contingent will also submit their comprehensive report of Freedom of Association (FOA) violations to the HLTM.

The report includes the alleged killings, red tagging, trump up charges and forced disappearances of trade unionists in the country from 2016 to 2021.

The said incidents prompted the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to place the Philippines in its list of 10 worst countries for workers for six consecutive years.

Aside from labor groups, the HLTM, which will be in the country from January 23 to 27, will also interview representatives from the government and employers.

The deployment of HLTM was ordered by ILO’s Committee on the Application of Standards in 2019 after local labor leaders reported the killing of 43 unionists—a number disputed by Philippine government officials—during the International Labor Conference that year.

The arrival of the mission was postponed until this year primarily due to the pandemic.

Local labor groups have called for concrete government measures to prevent more labor rights violations in the country as well as the swift resolution of pending labor-related cases.

Major employer groups, namely, the Employer’s Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), and Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PHILEXPORT), which are part of the Leader Forum (LF), also the backed position of labor groups on the matter in a joint statement last week.

The members of the LF said it will “push for the rule of law, dispensation of justice, speedy disposition of cases, in the course of its forthcoming meetings with the HLTM.”

Aside from ECOP, PCCI, and PHILEXPORT, the Leaders Forum also includes the FFW, Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).