Adopted Resolutions/Guidelines on Labor Standards and Labor Relations During the 20th International Conference of Labor Statisticians (ICLS)

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019


           The International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) is a meeting of experts on labor statistics spearheaded by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Statisticians/experts mostly coming from labour and national statistical offices, including employer’s and worker’s organizations, were invited to make recommendations on selected topics of labor statistics in the form of resolutions and guidelines. The resolutions and guidelines are then approved by the Governing Body of the ILO before becoming part of the set of international standards on labor statistics for adoption. These standards usually relate to concepts, definitions, classifications and other methodological procedures which are agreed as representing the “best practice” in the respective areas, and which, when used by national producers, will increase the likelihood of having an internationally comparable labor statistics as well as comparability across time within a country.

          The conference is usually held every five (5) years and to date 20 conferences had already been conducted so far. The 1st conference was held in 1923 with the latest ICLS conducted last October 10-19, 2018.  The  20th ICLS addressed, among other topics, two (2) global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators from SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) that are classified as Tier III indicators. This means that while the  internationally established methodology or standards for these indicators are not yet available, the methodology/standards are being (or will be) developed or tested in order to come up with an international methodology as requested by the United Nations – Interagency and Expert Group (UN-IAEG) on SDG Indicators.  Specifically, these indicators include SDG 8.8.2 on labour rights and 8.b.1 on youth employment.

            This issue of LABSTAT Updates discusses the adopted resolutions and guidelines pertaining to labor standards and labor relations during the conduct of the 20th ICLS. Specifically, the following will be presented: (1) Resolution Concerning the Methodology of the SDG indicator 8.8.2 on Labour Rights; (2) Resolution to Amend the 18th ICLS Resolution Concerning Statistics of Child Labour; and (3) Guidelines Concerning the Measurement of Forced Labour. Included also as Annex on the last page of this issue is the Framework for Statistical Identification of Child Labour.


Salient Features of the Resolution Concerning the Methodology of the SDG Indicator 8.8.2 on Labour Rights


  • The process of developing SDG indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was led by the UN Statistical Commission, through the Interagency Expert Group on SDG (IAEG-SDG), a body of 28 member States.
  • The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Indicator 8.8.2 refers to the “level of national compliance of labor rights as freedom of association and collective bargaining (FACB) based on ILO textual sources and national legislation, by sex and migrant status”. While this indicator is listed in the global SDG framework, this indicator has not yet been included in the list of Philippine SDG Indicators for initial monitoring since this indicator is still classified under Tier III indicator, pending the endorsement by the ICLS of its new methodology based on the 20th ICLS.
  • The 20th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) conducted last 10-19 Oct. 2018 recommended for adoption the reviewed and internationally agreed methodology as amended to measure the indicator on SDG 8.8.2 on labor rights (FACB). The endorsement of this amended methodology needs to be communicated by the ICLS to the IAEG-SDG for its consideration and action.
  • The FACB rights as defined by the ILO, are considered as “enabling rights” which is necessary to promote and realize other rights at work. Specifically, they provide an essential foundation for social dialogue, effective labor market governance and realization of decent work.

Measuring FACB Rights

  • The ILO utilizes the Kucera and Sari method to measure compliance with FACB rights which uses a coding scheme for violations in various textual sources. There are separate evaluation criteria for workers and workers’ organizations and employers and employers’ organizations.
  • Specifically, the evaluation criteria for workers and their organizations are categorized as follows:
  1. Fundamental civil liberties in law;
  2. Fundamental civil liberties in practice;
  3. Right of workers to establish and join organizations in law;
  4. Rights of workers to establish and join organizations in practice;
  5. Other union activities in law;
  6. Other union activities in practice;
  7. Right to collective bargaining in law;
  8. Right to collective bargaining in practice;
  9. Right to strike in law; and
  10. Right to strike in practice

Improvements in the New Methodology

  • The new ICLS resolution discussed improvements of the new methodology over the previous method particularly on the following areas:
  1. Coding 7 rather than 3 textual sources and thus making full use of textual sources available through ILO’s supervisory system, as well as coding national legislation;
  2. Categorization of violation whether in law (de jure) and/or in practice (de facto);
  3. Greater emphasis on violations of FACB rights regarding due process;
  4. Greater emphasis on violations of FACB rights committed against officials of workers’ and employers’ organizations;
  5. Eliminating catch-all evaluation criteria;
  6. Coding violations against both workers and workers’ organizations and employer and employers’ organizations;
  7. Increase in the number of evaluation criteria from 37 to 180 (103    evaluation     criteria      for workers’ organizations and 77 for employers’ organizations);
  8. Comprehensive definitions of what constitutes a violation of each criteria;
  9. Use of Delphi method of expert consultation to derive weights for each criterion; and
  10. Whereas the previous method was the work of an economist, the new method was developed in equal measure by a labor lawyer and an economist working in close collaboration, with coding done by labor lawyers rather than economist.

Key Premises

  • The key premises on which the indicators are based are:
  1. Definitional validity – the extent to which the evaluation criteria and their corresponding definitions accurately reflect the phenomena they are meant to measure;
  2. Transparency – how readily a coded violation can be traced back to any given textual source; and
  3. Inter-coder reliability – the extent to which different evaluators working independently are able to consistently arrive at the same results.




Unionism and collective bargaining continues to decline over time

  • Statistics showed that total union membership dropped by 24.1 percent from 373 thousand in 2008 to 283 thousand in 2016. The same generally decreasing  trend is likewise observed in terms of  CBA coverage during the period. From 391 thousand in 2008, CBA coverage fell by 19.9 percent to 313 thousand in 2016. On the average, CBA coverage is higher by 5.6 percent than union membership since CBA coverage includes non-union members paying agency fees. (Figure 1)


Figure 1


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