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Philippines: women boost skills in bargaining

4 May, 2016Thirty-three women leaders from twelve IndustriALL affiliates in the Philippines completed a two-day workshop on Gender Equality in Collective Bargaining, held in San Mateo, Rizal from 25-26 April 2016. 

The training, organized through the IndustriALL South East Asia gender-maternity protection project, enhanced women leaders’ familiarity and understanding on existing women-related laws and policies, including those related to discrimination, sexual harassment, maternity protection, solo parents, paternity leave, breastfeeding and lactation, maternal health and family planning and violence  against women and children, among others. Discussions on these laws alongside existing gender issues and concerns in workplaces enabled participants to identify gaps and deficits in laws implementation and compliance.

The role play on negotiations walked the participants through the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiation process, highlighting critical aspects such as data gathering and analysis, costing and financial review, prioritization of demands, determining non-negotiables, choosing negotiation panelists, and formulation of ground rules.

As the programme transitioned from negotiation to converting union demands into the written form, participants benefited from training in writing CBA provisions and a mock CBA negotiation exercise.

The whole activity underscored negotiation and collective bargaining as an effective tool in mainstreaming gender equality in workplaces and allowing women workers actual access to benefits long afforded to them under the law including maternity protection.

The programme ended with each organization marking out their next steps concerning gender issues and available recourse under the current CBA.  Regardless where the union is in the CBA life-cycle, the common goal was to push for a needs-based, more gender-responsive CBA among IndustriALL affiliates, one which ensures women workers’ full access to all benefits legally due to them. Provisions such as additional maternity benefits, reproductive health services, additional leave and cash benefits for solo-parents are some of the priority CBA provisions formulated by the participants.