The topic description provided by the organizers of this roundtable wishes the discussions to be “centered on how the government can assist in providing more efficient welfare for labor which will essentially reduce the possible sources of friction between labor and management.”
The “new” approach suggests to achieve industrial peace through social protection and promotion of social welfare of labor. It means that, aside from acting as the arbiter of social conflict, the government should take a proactive role in reducing social and industrial conflicts by acting on its source, that is, by improving the institutional arrangements to welfare of labor and its share in the wealth of the nation, The FFW has a list of proposals in this respect contained in its most recent Policy and Program of Action, which it offers as a basis for entering into a social dialogue with the social partners.2
Two concepts may be useful in discussing this objective. The first refers to the framework of “decent work”; the other to the principle of subsidiarity. The framework of decent work defines what should be done to promote the welfare of labor. The principle of subsidiarity shows how and what can be done by the social partners for the same purpose.
The concept of decent work is now adopted by the ILO as the main guiding principle of its action. According to the ILO, decent work has four main pillars. These are promoting respect core international labor standards; generating decent and productive employment; improving social protection and encouraging social dialogue. In the Philippines, the ILO in cooperation with the social partners is set 1 Paper contribution by Antonio C. Asper, Executive Assistant to the FFW President, to the Roundtable Discussion on “Furthering Workers’ Welfare Whilst Improving Labor Productivity and Increasing Firms’ Competitiveness: New Role of Government in Improving Industrial Relations”, conducted by the Angelo King Institute of the De La Salle University (AKI-DLSU), on November 22, 2001, at Traders Royal Hotel, Manila
2 See FFW Policy and Program of Action for the Period 2001 to 2006. to launch a country program that will attempt to demonstrate how to address the country’s deficit in decent work.
In Chapter 2 of the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) on “Providing Full, Decent and Productive Employment”, for the first time, the MTPDP elevated employment as a chapter, ensconced decent work as a framework and defines it as a condition where “rights of work are protected, adequate income is generated, social protection is provided and democratic processes are guaranteed through tripartism and social dialogue. Decent employment also entails the continuous improvement of workers’ personal capabilities through a build-up in competitive skills and positive work ethics.”3 The elevation of employment as a chapter of the MTPDP was a product of social dialogue that was expressed during the Employment Summit in March 2001 and its preparatory me...