The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) attended the briefing on multi-employer collective bargaining (MECB) recently hosted by the ILO Manila country offcie. The all-employer consultation was convened  so that employers and business organizations can participate, understand the concept better, and provide their insights on MECB.

Mr. Arun Kumar of ILO-Bangkok led the discourse with his presentation entitled, “Sharing in the Gains of Growth: Multi-Employer Bargaining Practice in Certain Countries & Issues.” Multi-employer bargaining helps to establish minimum standards applicable to enterprises operating under broadly similar conditions, Mr. Kumar said. Multi-employer collective bargaining hopes to bring industrial peace and stability in the company while saving bargaining costs for individual enterprises. However, for MEB/sectoral bargaining to progress in the Philippines, certain prerequisites must be undertaken – one of which will require cooperation from both employers and workers at the national and sectoral levels.

ECOP reiterated its support to the ILO C. 87 & C. 98 by saying that freedom of association is a fundamental right guaranteed under the constitution. However, employers are prohibited from “intervening” in its exercise. More specifically, it can neither promote nor prohibit unions from being organized. The confederation recognizes that there are challenges to be overcome in pursuit of industrial peace. It is in this context that ECOP has partnered with ILO and other international organizations in projects targeted at improving bipartite relations at both national and enterprise levels.

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