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Raimondo assures labor rights will be a US investor priority

MARIANNE BERMUDEZ/PPA POOL PHOTO

LABOR GROUPS said they received assurances from US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo that US investors in the Philippines will respect workers’ rights and comply with international labor standards.

Public Services Labor Independent Confederation President Annie E. Geron told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of a briefing on Thursday that the labor groups raised the issue of contractual workers in the workforce to Ms. Raimondo in a March 12 meeting. 

Ms. Geron said the groups also brought up the practice of “red-tagging,” which the security forces use as a pretext for labor crackdowns, alleging union connections with the Communist movement.

“(Ms. Raimondo) told us that she will see to it US companies in the Philippines adhere to the labor rules implemented in our country, such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 190 or the elimination of violence and harassment in the workplace,” Ms. Geron said.

“Ms. Raimondo stated that she is ‘very concerned’ about the problematic state of the Philippine labor rights situation,” the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said in a press release. 

“Ms. Raimondo also promised to raise the issue with US companies operating in the Philippines of alleged anti-union practices, the TUCP said, citing methods like the transfer of production and orders to non-union operations,” TUCP said.

They also brought up the role of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in red-tagging.

Ms. Geron said 69 labor leaders, organizers, and activists were killed in 2023.

“No one gets investigated or punished for the killings,” Ms. Geron said. 

Ms. Raimondo was quoted as saying that the Biden administration pursues “worker-centered policies.” — Chloe Mari A. Hufana

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