Category Archives: Social Dialogue in the Public Sector

5th National Human Resources for Health (HRH) Policy Forum

PSLINK participated in the 5th National Human Resources for Health (HRH) Policy Forum held on November 6, 2013 at the Manila Hotel with the theme “Moving Forward: Strengthening the Philippine Health Workforce for Universal Health Care.”

The forum provided a venue to discuss efforts related to the implementation of the HRH Master Plan at the agency and organizational levels. It also facilitated exchange of best practices and other relevant information on the Philippine health workforce production, management, and development.

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Among the topics discussed were:

  • Outcome-based Education for HRH
  • Philippine Qualification Framework- ASEAN Qualification Framework for Global Competitiveness
  • HRH Masterplan
  • Review of Local Government Code to Strengthen/Support Achievement of Universal Health Care
  • Philippine Experience in Bilateral Labor Agreements
  • Mapping of Indicators for the National Human Resources for Health Workforce Projections

PSLINK General Secretary Annie Enriquez Geron served as one of the resource speakers during the forum. She presented the PSI Participatory Research on Migration in the Health Sector copies of which were also distributed to the participants.

Held annually, the forum is seen as a means to strengthen partnerships and stakeholder participation in HRH policy development. The event was sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Resources for Health (HRH) Network Philippines.

PSLINK is an active member of the HRH Network.

PSLINK nurse affiliate sent to Malaysia for ASETUC Social Dialogue Training

PSLINK as a member of Public Services International (PSI) participated in the Regional Training on Social Dialogue organized by the ASEAN Services Trade Union Council (ASETUC) last June 11-13, 2013 in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

The three-day workshop was held to build the knowledge and skills of trade unions within Southeast Asia on social dialogue towards a stronger national and regional engagement of labor in ASEAN mechanisms and processes.

Formed in 2007, ASETUC has more than sixty affiliates in seven ASEAN countries. One of its main objectives is to promote tripartite social dialogue within the ASEAN framework.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to social dialogue especially given the diversity of culture, values, socio-economic systems within ASEAN,” according to Sis. Jasmin Rocamora, PSLINK’s representative during the training.

“But we in the trade union movement do recognize that we need to advance social dialogue at the local, national and regional levels to ensure that the rights of all ASEAN workers to decent work and quality public services such as health care are respected and promoted,” she added.

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Sis. Jasmin is a public health nurse and member of the City Government Health Workers Union of Puerto Princesa City (CGHWUPP). An active trade unionist in the health sector, she also took charge of the conduct of the PSI Participatory Research and Mapping of migration in the health and social care sectors in Palawan a year ago.

Back from the training in Malaysia, Sis. Jasmin is already keen on sharing the knowledge and skills she gained with her local union and PSLINK through a series of orientation programs on social dialogue in the health sector.

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Forum on Local Education Governance and Civil Society Participation

A public-forum workshop on “Civil Society Participation and Education Spending of Philippine Cities” was held today (May 21, 2013) at Astoria Plaza, Ortigas.

Organized by the Ateneo School of Government through its Government Watch (G-Watch) Program, the forum served as a venue to present the findings of a two-year study that looked into the impacts of civil society participation in mandated local participatory bodies in terms of allocation and utilization of funds for education by Local Government Units.

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Among the resource speakers during the forum were newly elected congressional representative of Camarines Sur Honorable Leni Robredo, DepEd USEC Rizalino Rivera, and Dr. Milwilda Guevara of Synergeia.

BESTFED-PSLINK leaders who participated in the activity gained valuable information and insights from the activity which can further help improve our ongoing initiatives to promote participatory school governance and quality education in our public education system.

“It is good to know that there are now spaces for civil society participation that are available, and are actually mandated, in our local government units,” said Violeta Fernandez, Vice President of BESTFED-PSLINK.

“Unfortunately these spaces are not maximized due to lack of information as well as lack of capacity among civil society groups, including trade unions, on the ground. This is why we in BESTFED-PSLINK do our part in addressing these gaps by organizing and building the capacity of School Governing Councils and trade unions to engage in local education governance. We are on the right track but much needs to be done in ensuring that civil society participation is really genuine, effective, and sustainable,” she added.

Highlights of the Pre-Labor Day Dialogue w/ Pres. Aquino at Malacanang

Report from PSLINK General Secretary regarding the highlights of the Pre-Labor Day Dialogue between labor leaders and Pres. Aquino on April 30, 2013.

AEG with PNoy

The dialogue between President Aquino and the labor sector was held on April 30, 2013, from 10:00-12:00pm at the Heroes Hall of the  Malacanan, Palace.  All the cabinet members were present, Executive Secretary Ochoa, Jr. the DOLE and its attached agencies and at least 19 representatives from the trade unions both from public and private.

Four sets of issues were presented by labor leaders:  Danny Edralin (APL), Victor Balais (TUCP), Babes Tesiorna (TUCP) and Sonny Matula (FFW):

  1. Security of Tenure/Non compliance to labor laws and covenants and extra judicial killings of labor/union members
  2. Agro Industrial Plan/ High cost of Power
  3. Freedom of Information/Demolition of Informal Settlers
  4. Migrant Workers Rights/Regular Dialogue with the President

The President response:

  1. Security of tenure law will cause further unemployment
  2. At least 50 billion pesos allocated for shelter program
  3. ECC daily cost and carers allowance will be the same for public and private sectors
  4. Increase the contribution of workers and employers to SSS to expand benefits
  5. Taxing only the excess of minimum wage will mean losing revenues  that could be used for building classrooms and health programs
  6. Instead of quarreling and blaming during labor day, make it a Good Jobs Day.

The labor sector expressed its collective dismay and utter disappointment with the PNoy response.

The informal meeting with President together with his cabinet members and the remaining labor leaders was held from 1:00-3:00pm.  President Aquino stayed for almost an hour for the informal dialogue.

 The Highlights:AEG at malacanang

  1. Taxing the income in excess of minimum wage – study with BIR will be conducted
  2. Proposals from the labor group to provide additional benefits for minimum wage earners  utilizing the fund allocated for that purpose
  3. Review on how to bring down the cost of power & submission of labor representative to the ERC including study on empowering consumers who are co owners of electric cooperatives
  4. End of rationalization program, the phasing out of job order/contract of service and MOA workers in the public sector starting June 2013 at DSWD to make them contractuals with social security benefits and with employee employer relationship
  5. Review of the tools and criteria in the granting of Performance Based Bonus to avoid patronage politics/favoritism
  6. Review on the granting of hazard pay and budget allocation to implement the provisions in magna carta laws
  7. Enhance consultations and engagement of public sector unions
  8. Study the pay structure of local government employees base on the principles of equal pay for equal work and work of equal value
  9. OP is not against/preventing the passage of Freedom of Information Bill

A follow-up meeting with cabinet members will take place on May 30, 2013.

Tribute program held for Bro. Soren Kargaard

PSLINK organized a simple tribute program for Bro. Soren Kargaard, International Secretary of the Confederation of Civil Servants and Salaried Employees of Denmark (FTF), during his visit to the Philippines this month to conduct program assessment. Bro. Kargaard has been a strong supporter of PSLINK for the last 22 years.

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PSLINK holds dialogue w/ GSIS President Robert Vergara on PINAI Fund

PSLINK leaders along with other public sector union representatives met with GSIS President Robert Vergara on November 6, 2012 to raise important concerns regarding the participation of GSIS in the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infra Fund (PINAI).

PSLINK whose affiliates are GSIS members expressed serious concerns related to the implications of this undertaking where $400 million worth of funds coming from government workers contributions will be directed to the PINAI Fund which will be used for investments in infrastructure projects under the administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) schemes.

The confederation has been critical of PPPs and efforts of the administration to privatize essential services such as education and health. PSLINK also stressed the need for consultation and social dialogue with public sector unions with regard to the use of GSIS funds.

Check out the slideshow below to see photos of PSLINK General Secretary Annie Enriquez-Geron and NCR-RC Deputy General Secretary Edilberto Pardinas with GSIS President Robert Vergara.

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PSLINK participates in the Multi-sectoral Consultation on the WHO Code of Practice

PSLINK participated in the Participatory Assessment Workshop on the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel held last May 2012.

Facilitated through the ILO-EU Decent Work Across Borders Project, the workshop was a landmark initiative as it brought together various stakeholders (such as key government officials, trade unions, recruiters, employers, professional associations, and NGOs) on health labor migration to discuss the implementation of the WHO Code of Practice in the country. The outputs of the workshop informed the national report that was submitted by the Department of Health as part of our country’ commitment to the WHO/UN.

Some of the issues raised by PSLINK regarding health labor migration during the workshop include the following:

1.       – Lack of adequate and relevant information for migrant health workers

2.       – Very limiting national reporting tool on the implementation of WHO Code of Practice

3.       – Need to ensure that bilateral/multilateral agreements are based on ethical recruitment framework

4.       – Lack of genuine and effective reintegration programs for migrant health workers

5.       – Inadequate budget for public services

6.       – Lack of social protection for migrant health workers

7.      – Need to ensure that workers’ and trade union rights of migrant health workers are respected and upheld

PSLINK representative together with other union participants of the Consultation and the Program Officer of the ILO-EU DWAB

PSLINK representative together with other union participants of the Consultation and the Program Officer of the ILO-EU DWAB

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Workshop on Social Dialogue for QPS and Consultation on Renegotiating MOUQPSP

PSLINK organized a 3 day National Workshop on Social Dialogue for Quality Public Services & Consultation Workshop on Re-Negotiating the Memorandum on Quality Public Services and Performance (MOUQPSP) on April 13-15, 2012at the Skylight Hotel, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines.

Attended by leaders of PSLINK from various regions of the country, the activity served as a venue for public sector unions to discuss on how to further improve delivery of public services through social dialogue and develop an action plan to renegotiate the MOUQPSP.

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Organizing Women Workers in a time of Precarious Work and Climate Change

In line with the International Women’s month celebration, PSLINK, BESTFED and ANG NARS conducted a public symposium on women workers’ rights and welfare entitled “Organizing Women Workers in a time of Precarious Work & Climate Change” in the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, Department of Education Complex, Pasig City last March 27, 2012.

This forum is in line with the theme for the 2012 National Women’s Month Celebration: “Women Weathering Climate Change: Governance and Accountability, Everyone’s Responsibility” and its objectives were the following:

  • To raise awareness about the Magna Carta of Women, CEDAW and the UN MDGs;
  • To promote women empowerment and gender-responsive budgeting in the public sector; and
  • To underline the role of women workers in organizing to promote decent work, good governance and quality public services in a time of economic distress and climate change

Around 100 GAD Focal persons and union officers from different government agencies participated in the forum.  Hon. Yolanda Quijano, Undersecretary for Programs and Projects of DepEd opened the program.

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Latest DBM Circular on CNA renders negotiations in the public sector a “big joke”

Latest DBM Circular on CNA renders negotiations in the public sector a “big joke”

(Position paper on DBM Budget Circular No. 2011-5)

 

We in PSLINK express our indignation at and strong opposition to the Budget Circular No. 2011-5 Supplemental Guidelines on the Grant of Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) Incentive for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 recently issued by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). All public sector unions should contest this despotic and unjust policy that now threatens the right to self-organization and collective negotiations of all government workers in the country. We urge the Public Sector Labor-Management Council (PSLMC) to stand its ground against this issuance that renders negotiations in the public sector a futile exercise and a “big joke.”

The PSLMC is mandated to promulgate necessary rules and regulations to govern the exercise of the right to self-organization of government employees. It is composed of the heads of the Civil Service Commission, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Finance and Department of Justice and the DBM with elected workers’ representatives sitting as observers.

The DBM is only a member of the PSLMC and yet it has issued a policy that imposes undue restrictions on the grant of the CNA incentive. How can the DBM unilaterally make a decision about the grant of CNA incentives when this matter, clearly a public sector labor relations issue, should be taken up by the PSLMC? Already impaired by the lack of genuine workers’ representation and independent machinery, the PSLMC is further undermined by DBM’s impertinence and the latter’s latest repressive issuance.

The PSLMC has already adopted sufficient guidelines on the grant of CNA incentives which include PSLMC Resolution No. 4, s. 2002 and PSLMC Resolution No. 2, s. 2003. These policies clearly specify what CNA incentives are for, where they can be sourced, and what the responsibilities of the concerned agency heads are. Moreover, these policies contain enough limitations and safeguards to avert abuse without undermining the right of workers to negotiate for better terms and conditions of employment.

Thus, there is no need for the additional guidelines contained in the DBM Budget Circular No. 2011-5 to govern the granting of CNA incentives. There is no need for restrictions that impose a ceiling of P 25,000 per qualified employee and further limit the fund sources for CNA incentives—as if public sector unions are not challenged enough by inadequate agency funding, lack of savings particularly in local government units, and non-implementation of CNAs by the management despite the former’s persistent efforts to contribute to cost-cutting measures and systems improvement in their agencies. Lastly, and more importantly, there is no need for DBM to intervene heedlessly in public sector labor relations.

What we need is enforcement of existing PSLMC Resolutions. What we need is a strong and impartial public sector labor relations body with genuine workers’ representation to ensure the fundamental rights of workers in the public sector. What we need is a more favorable environment for collective negotiations to promote public sector unionism leading to better, more democratic and accountable public services.

The PSLMC through its adopted resolutions allows the granting of CNA incentives “in recognition of the joint efforts of labor and management to achieve all planned targets, programs and services approved in the budget of the agency at a lesser cost.”

Amidst rising costs of commodities and basic services such as education and health care, the CNA incentive is one of the few things that rank and file government employees look forward to to augment their meager salaries. And in fact, even this modest amount public sector unions still need to negotiate and fight tooth and nail for. Unfortunately, the latest DBM Circular effectively leaves no room for negotiating this cash incentive. It defeats the purpose of collective negotiations between the management and the union in the first place with the DBM fixing all the rules by itself.

Without a doubt the DBM has overstepped its powers and that of the PSLMC. Worst, it has violated the right of government workers to collective negotiations—a right guaranteed in our Constitution, the Executive Order No. 180 and its Amended Rules and Regulations Governing the Exercise of the Right of Government Employees to Organize, and the International Labor Organization (ILO) Core Labor Standards.

We therefore demand the immediate revocation of DBM Circular No. 2011-5 and all other DBM issuances that impede workers’ right to self-organization and collective negotiations.

We also call for the creation of a truly independent and impartial public sector labor relations body that would advance the right to organize and negotiate of all government workers. Such a body would prevent brazen unilateral actions to be undertaken by government agencies such as DBM that impede public sector unionism in the country.

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PSLINK affiliates (from NAPEMA and DPWH-NCR Employees Union Federation) trooped to the Civil Service Commission where the PSLMC held its meeting to protest the issuance of DBM Budget Circular 2011-5 curtailing the right to collective negotiations of government workers.

PSLINK affiliates (from NAPEMA and DPWH-NCR Employees Union Federation) trooped to the Civil Service Commission where the PSLMC held its meeting to protest the issuance of DBM Budget Circular 2011-5 curtailing the right to collective negotiations of government workers.

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