Senate approved last Tuesday the bicameral conference committee report which creates tripartite industrial peace councils at the national, regional and industry levels.
Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada states that the proposed law upholds the workers’ and the employers’ right to be heard and be represented in the policy-making process of the government.
“While the Secretary of Labor is authorized to call a tripartite conference from time to time, the current Labor Code is silent as to the organization, composition and frequency of such conferences. And so we are providing the legal framework to realize the democratic consultation and participation of various sectors to decision making on issues directly affecting them,” Jinggoy says.
In the report, the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Councils (NTIPC) shall be headed by the Secretary of Labor and shall be composed of twenty (20) representatives each from the labor and employers sectors, which shall be designated by the President.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will also establish a sectoral nomination, selection and recall process, observing the “most representative” organization criteria of ILO Convention 144.
Moreover, Tripartite Industrial Peace Councils shall be established at regional or industry levels to serve as a continuing forum for tripartite advisement and consultation, to monitor implementation and compliance to tripartite instruments, to review and evaluate policies, and to formulate recommendations and proposals on labor and economic front.
Sen. Estrada, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, says, “The objective is to not only give the stakeholders the opportunity to be heard, but also to give authority to their voices by ensuring that they are deeply entrenched in decision making bodies of the government.”
The conference committee report consolidated the provisions contained in Senate Bill 2921 (authored by Sen. Estrada) and House Bill 6685.
The DOLE strongly supports the legislation saying that this is in accordance with President Aquino’s policy pronouncement of closely working with the private and labor sectors to strengthen tripartite cooperation and promote industrial peace.