Workers’ Watch Project held 1st Mindanao-wide Labor Standard Training

Participants of the 1st Mindanao-wide Labor Standard Training with the staff of Workers’ Watch.

The Workers’ Watch Project successfully held the 1st Mindanao-wide Labor Standard Training (LST) last September 13 to September 15, 2021 at Bangkal, Davao City.

The said training aimed to discuss and understand the workers’ situation in the Philippines, work and International Labour Organization (ILO) supervisory mechanisms, General Labour Standards (GLS), Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS), issues on termination, and legal remedies in cases of violations and non-compliance.

Jeo Olar, Workers’ Watch Project Manager, emphasized the urgency and significance of the LST in order for the workers to better protect and promote their rights especially amid the CoViD-19 pandemic.

“Even though Mindanao is considered as the country’s food basket, being the source of most of our export agricultural products, the workers’ condition is dire in these so-called critical industries of plantations, mining, and canning. The workers are being illegally terminated, unions are busted, mandatory benefits are not given, and due process is not followed, among others,” said Olar, further highlighting that these violations worsened during the pandemic.

“Despite their years of service yet, they still remain contractual,” she added.

Participants and staff discussing the significance of the Labor Standard Training and the plans on conducting similar activities.

Nonoy Librado Development Foundation, Inc. (NLDFI) Executive Director Emma Ricaforte encouraged the participants and staff to continue participating in these kinds of training and to conduct these in their respective centers.

“Training, such as the labor standard, is crucial for the workers to understand their current working condition and the actions that must be taken in cases of violations, which is why we must also keep on conducting these kinds of training so we could reach far and wide. Hopefully, we could engage more workers in countless plantations, mining corporations, and canning companies,” Ricaforte said.

The participants had shared the training’s relevance as they recalled their own experiences. Most of them were illegally terminated and did not receive any benefits from their company.

A participant from Region 12 detailing the issue on the illegal termination of several workers in Polomolok.

In addition, they also stated that they lacked knowledge on wage policies, benefits, safety and health standards, and legal remedies which led to their exploitation.

“We have better understanding of our rights as workers like the benefits that we should receive and the salary computations. It really helped us,” Ryan Illut said, a participant from Region 13.

Further, the speakers stressed out the necessity to use their training’s insights, urging the participants to conduct similar activities, and raise awareness among their fellow workers.

Aside from the LST, the Workers’ Watch Project will conduct a Paralegal Training this September 28 to September 30, 2021 to extend their knowledge on labor policies and legal procedures when dealing with labor cases.