Philippines backs global call for safe working conditions

Philippines backs global call for safe working conditions

THE PHILIPPINES is backing a global call to include safe and healthy working conditions in a revised international labor treaty, according to the Labor department.

In a statement, the agency said it supports the call to include the issue in the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Framework of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

Local labor representatives are participating in a 15-day discussion on world labor issues that started on May 27 and organized by the ILO.

The international conference focuses on occupational safety and health, apprenticeships and the social and solidarity economy, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said.

The Philippine contingent led by Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III includes members from Kilusang Mayo Uno, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, Federation of Free Workers and Employers Confederation of the Philippines. 

A broadened ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work is expected at this year’s conference.

The ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work was adopted in 1998 and “commits its member-states to respect and promote principles and rights in four categories, whether or not they have ratified the relevant conventions,” DoLE said.

Conference participants will also discuss the international standardization of the quality apprenticeship and social and solidarity economy, which is being pushed as an alternative to a market-oriented economy.

“It is an alternative to capitalism and other authoritarian, state- dominated economic systems,” according to RIPESS, a global network committed to the promotion of economy.

Social and solidarity economy is increasingly used as an umbrella concept that refers to the production and exchange of goods and services by a broad range of organizations and enterprises that pursue explicit social and environmental objectives, according to the United Nations (UN) website.

“It also aims to transform the social and economic system that includes public, private and third sectors,” it said. The group “seeks systemic transformation that goes beyond superficial change in which the root oppressive structures and fundamental issues remain intact.”

The proposed alternative economy is aligned with the call of UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres for a new socioeconomic order.

Benjamin Quinones, founder of the Asian Solidarity Economic Council, said in a study that the existing market-oriented economy, which promises trickle-down development, has “brought about loss of export incomes and jobs, and reduced revenues and capacities of states to deliver social services.”

“The failure of the neoliberal market-oriented economy to redistribute wealth and income more equitably and to eradicate poverty is turning the attention of more and more people to social solidarity economy as an alternative,” he said.

The ILO last week said work hours globally dropped in the first quarter from a quarter earlier amid a coronavirus pandemic. This was equivalent to 112 million full-time jobs, it said in a report published on May 23.

These estimates present a marked deterioration compared with the ILO’s January 2022 projections — a working-hour deficit equivalent to 52 million full-time jobs.

The group blamed the coronavirus pandemic and other multiple crises that have increased inequalities within and between countries.

These include inflation, especially in energy and food prices, financial turbulence, global supply chain disruptions exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it said.

These factors have worsened the global market recovery in the first quarter, the international labor body said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza