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Senate Approves ILO Convention 151 on Second Reading

The Senate, on Monday (August 7), has approved on Second Reading the Committee Report seeking its concurrence in the ratification of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the Right to Organise and Procedures for Determining Conditions of Employment in the Public Service (ILO Convention 151).

Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and sponsor of the Committee Report, said that the Senate is expected to pass on Third Reading and concur in the ratification of the treaty next week.

"I am optimistic that the Senate will concur in the ratification of ILO Convention 151 to give our 2.3 million civil servants the same rights available to private sector employees. If we ratify this Convention, we will be the first Asian country to do so. This will bolster the domestic and international status of the Philippines as a leader in promoting and protecting labor and civil rights," Legarda said.

"Compared to the workers in the private sector, government employees have less opportunities to negotiate terms and conditions of employment, among other rights which are available to private sector and other workers. This is the inequality that the treaty seeks to address," she added.

The Senator explained that the rights of public sector employees are specified in the Convention as five types of guarantees: (1) Protection of the right to organize, (2) Facilities to be afforded to public employees' organizations (3) Procedures for determining terms and conditions of employment, (4) Settlement of disputes arising in connection with the determination of terms and conditions of employment, and (5) Civil and political rights.

All persons employed by public authorities--the civil servants employed in the National Government Agencies (NGAs) and its attached agencies, bureaus, local government units (LGUs), and government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs)--are covered by this Convention.

"This Convention is important to public employees. They will enjoy better working conditions, have the opportunity to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment, and have proper avenues to voice out their grievances. Civil servants have waited for 39 years for the ratification of this Convention. The Senate's concurrence is a vote in upholding and promoting their labor rights," Legarda concluded.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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