Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz lauded the country’s banking industry for its ‘high level of commitment’ in voluntarily submitting themselves to the new Labor Law Compliance System (LLCS) which she said is a vital competitiveness measure in the ASEAN financial integration.
Under the LLCs, the DOLE’s Labor Law Compliance Officers conduct a group approach evaluation where a sample size of the total branches of a bank establishment is assessed as to compliance with general labor standards.
The assessment done at the bank’s head office involves checking of centralized payroll, HR policies, and other related policies.
“With the group approach in assessment, there is an assumption that the bank’s policies are uniformly applied and implemented across branches. As to compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards, our officers assess each branch for compliance,” Baldoz said, adding that this mechanism has efficiently facilitated better compliance among banks.
Baldoz shared these innovations in her message read by Assistant Secretary Katherine Brimon to the Regional Tripartite Social Dialogue on 5 July 2015.
The event, attended by the ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council and the ASEAN Bank Union Council, was a discussion on how to manage adjustments in the ASEAN financial sector integration; the lessons learned in the global financial crisis; and the good practices in labor relations across the region.
In her message, Baldoz said compliance with labor laws is “a minimum social floor that protects workers while it also stabilizes businesses whether in normal times or in periods of crisis. The same is a key factor toward regional and global competitiveness of businesses,” Baldoz said.
Also, the labor and employment chief observed that responses to the regional integration should include the development of competitive wages or compensation packages that are intended to attract and retain talent when and where it is needed most. “This is particularly relevant in the financial sector where competition has always been fierce and where productivity has been at the core of investment decisions, she said.
She cited as an example the country’s remarkable improvements in the 2014 Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), particularly on the labor market indicator in terms of Pay and Productivity. In the report, the Philippines, from being at 82nd back in 2010, is now ranked at 27, or a rise in ranking by 55 notches relative to how worker productivity is related to pay.
Baldoz said this is a “valuable signal as it tells us that business leaders in the country now put a premium on worker’s productivity as this translates to more efficient and increased output. It also tells us that businesses are willing to give appropriate compensation and incentives to productive workers.”
In addition, Baldoz said the social dialogue mechanism has also resulted to the country’s very much improved global labor market efficiency standing in the GCI indicator Cooperation between Labor and Management where the Philippines has risen to Rank 29 – a marked improvement from its ranking 56th in 2010.
She bared to the ASEAN banking industry the Philippines’ well-entrenched policies on tripartism and social dialogue which served as the groundwork for the creation of Industry Tripartite Councils (ITCs), including the Banking Industry Tripartite Council (BITC). This council serves as a communication channel and a mechanism for undertaking joint programs among government, workers and employers toward enhancing labor-management relations in the banking and finance sector.
National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) President Jose P. Umali, Jr. commended the Secretary’s message which covered what the BITC has accomplished for the Philippine banking industry. He said what the BITC as a tripartite mechanism has done for the industry should guide how the rest of the banking sector in the ASEAN must prepare as a response to the ASEAN Economic Integration.
The full text of the DOLE Secretary’s message can be accessed at www.dole.gov.ph.
The NUBE President praised Secretary Baldoz for being instrumental in making tripartism and social dialogue in the Philippine banking industry highly effective and responsive to industry needs, which, he added, is a feat worthy for the DOLE Secretary’s continued service to the Department.
The BITC has established a conciliation-mediation services which complements Republic Act No. 10395, or the Conciliation – Mediation Law (Single-Entry Approach or the SEnA Law) which is a milestone in labor relations policy in the country.
These social dialogue mechanisms have supported stability and a relatively harmonious labor relations environment among banks in the Philippines.
Records show that from 1999 to 2015, there were 174 Notices of Strikes (NoS), with the highest number being filed in 2002 with 19 Notice of Strikes. But since1999, there were only two banks that declared a strike — one in 2000 and another in 2003.
The NOS filed from 2010 to 2015 was also maintained at a single digit, the highest was 6 in 2011.