This year’s first knowledge sharing session by the APO Grantees/Alumni was implemented on January 17, 2014 at DAP Pasig City by the Development Academy of the Philippines-APO Liaison Office. It highlighted “New Trends in Labor Relations Systems” presented during the APO workshop on Labor-Management Relations held in Japan on November 18-22, 2014 and attended by the 3 APO Grantees. The session discussed the current status, trends and issues on labor-management relations and identified the role of the government, private-sector management and labor unions in promoting good labor management relations for higher productivity.
Twenty-nine public and private sector professionals, represented by human resource managers, labor relations officers, and management practitioners including productivity specialists, learned from the sharing of knowledge and experiences by three (3) invited APO Grantee/Alumni who recently attended the APO-sponsored workshop on the subject.
Mr. Rey Elbo, Chief Strategist of Kairos Management Technologies, discussed the current trends in Japanese Labor Management Relations as well as the state of Japan’s economy. He said that Japan has shifted to globalization as a strategy to counter the problems of declining workforce which is adversely affecting its economic performance. Globalization was also adopted as a Union strategy to address the increase in individual labor disputes experienced in other countries.
Ms. Niña Estudillo, Productivity and Quality Trainer, presented the current trends that impact on Japan’s Labor-Management Relations. She cited the following Japanese Government’s interventions to address the impacts: forging Economic Partnership Agreements; establishment of support policies for promotion of automobile industry; establishment of Public Employment Security Office; and passing of laws/policies for Labor Standard Legislation, Minimum Wage Systems, Promotion of Women in the Workforce and others.
For his part, Mr. Gerard Seno, the National Executive Vice-President of the Associated Labor Unions-TUCP, focused on the role of Labor Unions in promoting Industrial Peace, Productivity and National Development. He discussed the Japanese philosophy behind Labor-Management Relations, history of unions in Japan, key characteristics of unions, and a Case example of a Japanese union—The Honda Motor Worker’s Union. Mr. Seno shared his observation that the role of unions is largely influenced by prevailing socio-economic environment. Factors that affect this include: national stability (peace and order), just and equitable law, industrial policy (industrial peace, productivity technologies), good Labor-Management Relations, and inter-generational equity (advocacy to protect the environment).
During the forum, participants raised questions on Unionism in the Philippines, common Labor-Management concerns like activism, union strikes, minimum wage issues, and high employee attrition. One of the participants, Department of Labor and Employment Director for Internal Service Maria Cristina Mangaliman reported that the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) is mandated to promote Labor Management Cooperation (LMC) at the national level. She cited the negative perception of the private sector regarding unions, which is affecting their LMC promotional efforts. Towards the end of the forum the participants suggested that a possible partnership project could be forged among DAP, ALU-TUCP and DOLE’s National Conciliation and Mediation Board to revive and intensify the LMC program in the Philippines.