Agencies sign updated rules on gov’t workers’ right to organize

VARIOUS government agencies signed on Monday the updated Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Executive Order (EO) No. 180, which allows government employees to form labor unions.

The IRR, signed at the Department of Justice (DoJ) main office in Manila, includes a provision for the Registration of National Employee Organizations, which are coalitions of registered employee organizations within an agency for Collective Negotiation Agreements.

Prior to the 2024 IRR, the guidelines for EO 180, issued in 1987, were last amended in 2004.

“Government employees are the engine of our bureaucracy, the unseen hands that guide the ship of state. They translate policy into action, rights into realities, and service into progress. Their ability to organize is pivotal to a responsive and resilient government,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla wrote in his welcome remarks read by Justice Undersecretary Fredderick A. Vida.

It also provides clearer qualifications and criteria for personnel eligibility to join employee organizations, allows for electronic filing of pleadings/documents and online platforms, and integrates new council policies, employee elections, and other important guidelines.

“This is a welcome development, but we need a Magna Carta for public sector workers like the Labor Code for private sector workers,” said Federation of Free Workers president Jose Sonny G. Matula in a Viber message to BusinessWorld.

Apart from the DoJ, other government agencies that sent representatives to the signing of the 2024 IRR for EO 180 were the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), the Department of Finance (DoF), and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). — Chloe Mari A. Hufana