PIA News Service - Saturday, August 11, 2012


News Feature: Philippine trade unions right on top of “greening” enterprises, workplaces

by Anna Lee M. Fos

True to their promise for renewed joint collaboration, Japanese and Filipino unions are continuing to support nationally-identified issues and concerns in the Philippines. As a follow up to 2011’s program on decent work and green jobs, this year’s activity (third of its kind since the program was launched in 2010) paid more attention to engaging social partners and scaling up existing initiatives and opportunities for green and decent work promotion and creation.

Many things have changed dramatically in the world of work barely six months since the last program was implemented in 2011. These changes challenge unions to take bolder, innovative and concrete responses to accelerating and sustaining earlier gains in green jobs and decent work.

“The constant attention of the Philippine trade union movement to the issue of decent work and green jobs and the continuing support of Japanese unions testify to the high level of awareness and readiness of trade unions to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation,” noted Bro. Herrera, President of Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

The program which receives support from the Japanese unions in collaboration with the Japan International Labour Foundation (JILAF) aims to build the capacity of Filipino workers to effectively engage locally, regionally and nationally in the climate change debate, initiatives and in decision making processes.

“We are proud that TUCP was granted the privilege and opportunity to carry out pioneering sustainable development-related efforts in Asia and in the Philippines,” said Bro. Greg del Prado, TUCP’s General Council member, one of this year’s participant. He stressed that workers’ (including their families’) welfare and protection will remain higher in TUCP’s priority agenda.

Participants, while recognizing the importance of green jobs, called for a truly sustainable development process which addresses both social and broader environmental dimensions of jobs. They proposed that any greening strategies at the national, regional and local levels should ensure that workers and their families’ interests are taken into account.

Unions under the TUCP and its affiliates commit to support more enterprise level workers’ education programs; conduct baseline survey to assess extent of decent work and greening activities in unionized enterprises using the trade union-developed action checklist on decent work and green jobs; develop easy-to-understand information materials on decent work and green jobs; integrate green clauses in future CBA negotiations; and designate focal persons at the level of the labour federation and the local unions in charge of green jobs and decent work.

Together with representatives from the International Labor Organization (ILO) Philippine Office, Climate Change Commission (CCC), regional offices (Region VII) of the Department of Labour and the Regional Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB), the largest Japanese national center, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-RENGO), and the Japan International Labour Foundation (JILAF), the program looked at strategies of greening jobs and advancing decent work at the workplace, reviewed major steps taken by the government towards climate change adaptation and mitigation, and assessed actual, on-the-ground experiences, and greening programs and activities of unions.

The program was attended by 33 participants from TUCP’s affiliates in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. They came from major sectors that are particularly important for a transition to a green economy such as transportation and agriculture, and other sectors equally vulnerable to environmental disasters including manufacturing, academe, hotels and restaurants, banking, informal sector, call centers, among others. (FEA/TUCP/PIA-Surigao del Norte)