The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and the Philippine Government Employees Association (PGEA) appeals to the Senate of the Philippines to concur and ratify the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 151. This would protect and strengthen the security of tenure of public sector workers and could help in curtailing the practice of massive contractualization in the government. Convention 151 was adopted by the International Labour Conference (ILC) of the ILO in 1978, providing for the right of those employed in the public sector to form unions or associations and to collectively bargain with the government for better salaries, benefits and working conditions among others.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte has already endorsed and submitted the instrument of ratification to the Senate for concurrence last May 26, 2017. Under Philippine law, the Senate must ratify international treaties. Once ratified, the Philippines will be the first country in Asia-Pacific to adopt the said convention. No administration in the past was willing to accommodate ILC 151.
Senate ratification of ILC 151 will change the perspective of the government towards public sector unionism. Public sector unions are partners of the government in achieving inclusive development and in building a just and decent society. We need a strong, professional, well-paid public sector workers to ensure the best possible services to the tax-payers including access to free elementary, secondary and tertiary education, universal access to healthcare, universal access to other basic services. We therefore urge the Senate to swiftly act on the ratification of ILO Convention 151. We have been lobbying for its ratification since 2010 and government workers are long awaiting and expecting that the Philippines will ratify it as part of its commitment to promote social justice and to protect and promote the rights and welfare of workers in the public sector.
Government workers are the ones who actually deliver public services. They are at the frontlines and the real faces of the government. The rights and welfare of government workers must be protected and promoted so that they can deliver excellent services to the people. But at the same time our public sector workers must have their security of tenure protected. Happy, secure, well-motivated government employees are the key to our ability as a government to provide world-class services to the Filipino nation.
TUCP and PGEA are dedicated to promote the welfare of all Filipino workers including the more than 1.3 million employees who are working in the public service many are under “Job Order (JO)”, “Contract of Service (COS)” and “Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)” work arrangements. The exploitation of “Job Order (JO)”, “Contract of Service (COS)”, “Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)” and other non-regular government workers must stop now as part of the “Change Agenda” of Duterte administration.
The government must be the model for promoting decent work and job security and the ratification of ILO Convention 151 will be a good beginning towards addressing the rampant labor contractualization in the public service and to strengthening the security of tenure of government workers.
We hope that the Senate under the present 17th Congress will finally hear the cry of public sector workers for social justice and will ratify ILO Convention 151, now.