Labor relations are the interactions between employers and employees or their representatives and the procedure by which labor standards are negotiated, adjusted, and enforced.
What are the goals and policies of labor relations?
Ultimate Goal: In simplest terms, the Constitutional and overarching goal of labor relations is freedom from poverty.
Art. II Section 9 and 10 of the 1987 Constitution states: “the State shall… ensure the prosperity… of the nation and free the people from poverty through [strategic] policies that provide… full employment, a rising standard of living, and improved quality of life.”
“Social justice in all phases of development.” (Sec. 10) What is social justice? Social justice is ultimately socio-economic equity through access to political and economic opportunities.
What are the strategic policies to achieve these goals? These are laid down under Art. 218 of the Labor Code
- The primacy of modes of settling labor disputes such as free collective bargaining, free negotiations, voluntary arbitration, mediation, and conciliation;
- Promote free trade unionism as an instrument for the enhancement of democracy and social justice;
- Foster the organization of strong and united labor movements;
- Promote the enlightenment of workers concerning their rights and obligations.
Labor relations vs. Labor standards
As to concerns, labor standards concerns with the terms and conditions of employments; while labor relations concerns representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, or changing the terms or conditions of employment.
As to purpose: Labor standards’ purpose is to financial and security protections of the laborers; while labor relations’ is the balancing of interests of employers and employees;
As to enforcement: Labor standards is enforced by government bodies; while labor relations are governed by agreements between unions and employers.
What are the perspectives in labor relations in the private sector?
- Principle of participation – the right of workers to participate in the decision and strategic policy-making processes under Art. 219;
- Organization and action – the workers may organize to be come a legal entity in order to acquire rights that are legally demandable such as communicating as a group with the employer;
- Collective contract – the union is where workers can speak as one voice. The union and the employer will then negotiate and come up with a contract called Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA);
- Dispute handling – the employer and the employees themselves must deal with their problems in a manner most comfortable to them. This is encouraged even without a union. If this in-house mechanism fails, the parties are free to select any third party to resolve their differences.
- Work stoppage – if the work is stopped by the employees, this is “strike.” If by the employer, it is called as a “lockout.” These are legal rights but these are strictly regulated because labor is imbued with public interest. No form of violence is ever allowed.