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Philippine pharmaceutical unions form tripartite social dialogue mechanism

25 May, 2021Unions in the Philippines’ pharmaceutical industry have successfully lobbied the government to set up a tripartite social dialogue mechanism to address various issues in the industry.

In an online meeting on 11 May with the Philippines’ labour secretary, Silvestre Bello III and undersecretary Benjo Benavidez, the labour secretary accepted the proposal to establish a tripartite mechanism to discuss industry trends, standards, workers and social issues.

Seventeen delegates from IndustriALL’s pharmaceutical union network, who subsequently formed the Alliance of unions in the pharmaceutical industry, attended the meeting, including leaders of Trade federation 3-federation of free workers (TF3-FFW) and unions from Pfizer, Takeda, Johnson and Johnson, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Sanofi, Novartis and others.

The alliance urged the Department of labour and employment (DOLE) to look into issues like the absence of safety and health committees, unjustifiable layoffs and redundancies during the pandemic, and violence and discrimination at workplaces.

Cecile Villarama, of Takeda union-TF3-FFW, says:

“DOLE’s greenlight is the first achievement; we will continue to work towards the tripartite mechanism. Let us join hands with other social partners to ensure our safety and health at work.”

DOLE will invite pharmaceutical companies for an exploratory meeting. The department has also committed to conduct labour inspections to ensure full compliance with the occupational safety and health standards.

IndustriALL Global Union was present at the founding meeting of the network and has supported it throughout. But the progress is down to the work of the Philippine unions who have succeeded in building a social partnership at the industry level.

Tom Grinter, IndustriALL director chemicals and pharmaceuticals says:

“This is an example to be replicated elsewhere showing that long-term action plans can be achieved with commitment to solidarity at the national and international levels.

“We look forward to the tripartite dialogue that will bring benefits to the workers, unions and companies in the sector. Congratulations to all those involved in this inspiring trade union work.”