Philippines: Trade unions face an environment of violence and intimidation

The ITUC is releasing today a report on core labour standards in Philippines that finds an environment of violence and intimidation against trade unions – including harassments, dismissals, false criminal charges, arrests, threats and even murder. The authorities often fail to bring the assassins and those who order the murders to justice.

The report also finds frequent use of anti-union practices by employers and state authorities, including impeding union elections, setting up yellow unions and refusing regularisation of workers. The replacement of long-term employment contracts with subcontracted labour further curtails union membership and bargaining strength. In Special Economic Zones (SEZs) union organising is prevented by security forces, and workers seeking to organise face dismissals and blacklisting.

The ITUC also finds poor compliance with other international labour standards, especially those prohibiting child labour and forced labour. There are between two and five million children at work and many children are exploited in the worst forms of child labour. Moreover, many women and girls are forced into domestic servitude and prostitution and men coerced into debt peonage in agriculture and fisheries. The government is making some efforts to eliminate child labour, human trafficking and forced labour but some police are complicit in these illegal activities.

To read the report

For further information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 62 10 18

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