Philippines: textile and garment workers trained in negotiation skills

10.03.2017

Textile and garment workers and allied sectors affiliated with IndustriALL Global Union participated in a three day collective bargaining and negotiation training course from 3 to 5 March 2017 at Antipolo City.

Supported by Japanese union UA Zensen and in cooperation with IndustriALL Philippines, the training aimed to equip skills and enhance the capacity of plant level union officers to negotiate for better working conditions. Twenty five local union officers and shop stewards were equipped with negotiation skills and collective bargaining strategies and techniques.

Participants expressed the view that in challenging times where trade union and collective bargaining rights are under attack by corporate globalization, new approaches to collective bargaining are needed, and it is necessary for trade unionists to acquire adequate skills and innovative negotiation strategies.

“We are pleased to participate in this training, as a newly organized union it is timely that we adapt to this new learning so that we can immediately apply in our coming negotiation,” said George Otayde, vice president of Lamitek labour union, organized under the IndustriALL union building project.

Union density and collective bargaining coverage are low in the Philippines, leading unions to look at different types of collective bargaining so that more workers can be covered by collective agreements.

“Real changes happened in our workplace. In the past almost all workers were covered by our collective bargaining agreement, but today contractual workers outnumber regular workers, and those contractual workers are excluded from our collective bargaining agreement”, said Roland Vicencio, a union officer from Frankhaus International Corp.

“Now that we are aware that this situation will eventually lead to the loss of our bargaining power and weaken the union, it is a challenge for the union to exert our collective effort to negotiate for inclusive provision of all workers regardless of their status,” he added.