by Mario M. Banzon, Businessworld, Aug 9, 2017
THE SENATE approved on second reading the committee report seeking its concurrence in the ratification of the ILO Convention 151 or the Protection of the Right to Organize and Procedures for Determining Conditions of Employment in the Public Service on Monday.
Senator Loren B. Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and sponsor of the Committee Report, said that the Senate is expected to pass on third reading and concur in the ratification of the treaty next week.
“I am optimistic that the Senate will concur in the ratification of ILO Convention 151 to give our 2.3 million civil servants the same rights available to private sector employees. If we ratify this Convention, we will be the first Asian country to do so. This will bolster the domestic and international status of the Philippines as a leader in promoting and protecting labor and civil rights,” Ms. Legarda said.
According to Ms. Legarda, employees in the government sector do not enjoy the same privileges as workers in the private sector with fewer “opportunities to negotiate terms and conditions of employment.”
“This is the inequality that the treaty seeks to address,” she added.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) welcomes this development, according to TUCP director for education, Rafael E. Mapalo.
“The issue of contractual workers in government is a serious concern that needs immediate and decisive decision,” he said.
Mr. Mapalo also added that organized labor is pleased with the prospect of public-sector workers being allowed to join unions and bargain collectively.
The Department of Labor and Employment, meanwhile, said it expressed its support for the ILO Convention during Senate hearings.
Ms. Legarda said that the rights of public sector employees are specified in the Convention as five guarantees: Protection of the right to organize. facilities to be afforded to public employees’ organizations, procedures for determining terms and conditions of employment, settlement of disputes arising in connection with the determination of terms and conditions of employment, and civil and political rights.
Ms. Legarda added that “civil servants have waited for 39 years for the ratification of this convention. The Senate’s concurrence is a vote in upholding and promoting their labor rights.” —