Philippines: Trade Union Mobilization 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



On March 5, 2009, trade unionists representing 18 Philippine centers/unions, federations, Global Union Federation (GUF) affiliates and local unions met in Quezon City, Manila to discuss forming a Philippines Trade Union Ban Asbestos Network. Commenting on the day's developments, Gerard Seno, National Vice President of Associated Labor Unions (ALU), said: “Our collective strength will be more effective in pushing legislators and government agencies to take action.”


Measures which will be pursued to achieve a national asbestos ban include:

  • legislation – ensure that international standards and best practice are the basis of national laws;
  • formation of a trade union network – local unions working in harmony with GUF affiliates and international partners will coordinate ban asbestos efforts;
  • lobbying government – engage with national agencies to encourage expansion of efforts to protect public and occupational health from the asbestos hazard and to adopt a program to eliminate asbestos-related diseases;
  • monitoring at-risk workers – set up medical surveillance for asbestos-exposed workers and a central registry of asbestos-related diseases;
  • raising asbestos awareness – disseminate information on the asbestos hazard to government agencies, politicians, workers, trade unions and the public with a view to mobilizing citizens on the asbestos issue.1

A joint communiqué signed by the majority of participants at the meeting affirmed their commitment to this program. Future action to further the strategies delineated will be spearheaded by a Technical Working Group. The March 5 asbestos forum signalled the revitalization of the trade union ban asbestos campaign in the Philippines.

March 13, 2009


1 Seno G. Philippine Trade Union Network on Asbestos Ban Formed. March 2009.



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