Press Release
September 30, 2012


Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada sponsored twin measures which seek to strengthen workers' right to organize and be represented in policy-making process.

Sen. Estrada, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment, pushed for the enactment of Senate Bill 2921 or the proposed Act Strengthening Tripartism.

Tripartism refers to the representation of workers and employers sectors in decision and policy making bodies of the government. Through tripartism, employers and workers on the one hand representing their respective interests, and the government on the other, representing the interest of the public, help shape economic policies and programs of the government.

The bill seeks to define the tripartism structure by establishing Tripartite Industrial Peace Councils in the national, regional and industry levels with representatives from the government, workers and employers to serve as a continuing forum for tripartite advisement and consultation.

In his sponsorship speech last week, Sen. Estrada cited that one the weaknesses of the tripartism in the Philippines is the lack of a well-defined criteria for nomination and selection of sectoral representatives in various tripartite bodies.

"This is remedied by Senate Bill 2921 by incorporating into law twenty labor and employer representatives each per sector which shall be designated by the President at regular intervals and the nomination and selection procedure observing the 'most representative' organization criterion of ILO Convention 144 or the Tripartite Consultation Convention," Jinggoy further stated.

Sen. Estrada also pressed on the approval of Senate Bill 2838, or the proposed Act Further Strengthening Workers' Right to Self-Organization, which aims to remove the minimum membership requirement for registration of independent unions which is perceived as a prior restraint on the worker's right to self-organization.

Article 234 of the Labor Code currently requires any applicant labor association or group of workers to submit, among others, the names of all its members comprising at least 20% of all employees in the bargaining unit where it seeks to operate, to be registered as a legitimate labor organization.

In addition, submissions of applications for registration of labor organizations may be done via internet to the appropriate DOLE regional or field office, thereby making the process efficient and accessible. The processing of applications for registration will also be accomplished in one (1) calendar day instead of thirty calendar days, as specified in the Labor Code, making registration expeditious.

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