Editorial: Toward industrial peace

Published on the November 15, 2006 issue of the BusinessMirror

It must be a sign of the changing times that today, there are far fewer strikes and other protest actions by workers than in the past three decades.

But rather than mount work slowdowns or pickets to protest low wages and bad working conditions, Filipino workers are voting with their feet and leaving for abroad at the rate of 2,000 to 3,000 a day.

That Filipino workers are abandoning class struggle in large numbers and embracing capitalism with a passion must certainly be giving leaders of the local Communist Party sleepless nights. If the prevailing sentiment among workers is, “It is better to be exploited and oppressed than to have no work at all,” then we may be seeing a seismic shift away from the previously hardline stance taken by the militant labor federations toward “class conciliation” preached by their counterparts in conservative labor circles.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the recent move by various labor and industry groups to come to an agreement to forge better employee-employer relations and to address the country’s labor-cost competitiveness.

A team composed of representatives from the Federation of Philippine Industries, Fair Trade Alliance, the Federation of Free Workers and the University of the Philippines School of Labor and Industrial Relations (UP-Solair), among others, are now drafting the contents of the Joint Communiqué on Decent Work, Productivity and Competitiveness that is expected to be signed by the heads of industry groups and labor organization on November 28.

According to UP-Solair, the advent of globalization now demands that domestic labor and capital harness their complementary traits and work together in resolving their inherent differences to meet the stiff competition from the outside.

The communiqué is merely the first step, according to organizers, in creating a big movement that will collectively tackle issues both at the macro side, which are government policies, and at the micro level, or the ways to promote industrial peace in the workplace.

If this united front comes to pass, will this drive the last nail on the coffin of militant trade unionism in this country?


  1. This is exactly what the administration wants to boost our dollar stocks. The sad reality is not to export our “quality” goods but our “quality labor force”. To raise the level of desperation will drive our people to seek employment abroad. This to me is the biggest crime this bogus administration has committed. To allow our country to be slaves in distant lands so GMA can boast of improved ratings.

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