New Employment Patterns: The Trade Union Response

Verna Dinah Viajar


Formed to protect workers’ rights and improve their working conditions, trade unions are a potential source of power. Today’s trend of globalization, however, compels trade unions to reexamine their strategies and modes of action. The liberalization and integration of economies worldwide have compelled local industries, to be more competitive. The most convenient means to raise competitiveness is to lower labor costs through greater flexibility in labor utilization. In the Philippines, labor flexibility entails the unbridled use of labor-subcontracting, contractual labor, part-time, casual/temporary, and probationary employment. While unanimously opposing these measures, most labor unions have not really leveled-off on this issue and the implications of globalization in general. Their responses operate on the present labor relations framework and are remedial in character. Since labor flexibility phenomenon springs from an economic restructuring, labor should be able to intervene in the economic and political decision-making in the country. It must unify its ranks in order to carve its own niche in the present political terrain and eventually to be taken seriously by the employers and the State. Lastly, it must come up with alternatives to such economic restructuring and an agendum to serve the workers’ interest amid the globalization of the Philippine economy.


Trade Union, Globalization

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