JILAF held an international symposium on the main theme of "The Present State of Nonregular Workers and Other Forms of Unstable Employment and Efforts toward Correction" from 13:00 on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, at Bellesalle Jimbocho in Tokyo with the participation of representatives from the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the General Federation of Labour in Israel (HISTADRUT), and the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions (SGB/USS).
After an opening address by JILAF Executive Director Takao Yasunaga, Assistant Professor Kaoru Kanai of the Faculty of Economics at Saitama University delivered a keynote speech titled "The Present State of Nonregular Workers and Other Forms of Unstable Employment and Issues," in which, using data, he explained differences in the definition of nonregular workers in various countries, the degree of satisfaction of nonregular workers in their jobs, the ratio of nonregular workers to all workers, gaps in wages and other systems, and the gender bias.
Reports on the situation in their countries were then given by Ms. Jennifer Brooke Dorning, head of the AFL-CIO's Organization Department for Professional Employees and research director; Mr. Moshe Friedman, president of the Israeli National Defense Workers' Union affiliated to HISTADRUT; Mr. Luca Cirigliano, member of the Central Executive Committee and head of the International Affairs Bureau of the SGB/USS; and Ms. Franziska Theresia Bender, research assistant at the SGB/USS.
These presentations were following by a panel discussion, with Assistant Professor Kanai serving as coordinator. After sharing information on the present condition of nonregular workers in their countries, the panelists shared their awareness of the problem and discussed the organization of nonregular workers, efforts to address the issues of nonregular workers in each country, and policies toward the resolution of these issues.
Specifically, Ms. Yoko Murakami, director of the Department of Working Conditions of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), explained the present situation and problems of nonregular workers in Japan, after which the non-Japanese panelists described conditions in their countries. The panelist from the United States gave an example of the formation of a union for nonregular workers, described efforts to organize people without proper employment relations, such as Uber taxi drivers, and spoke about the social movement to, among other things, raise the minimum wage. The panelist from Israel spoke about the "shoulder-to-shoulder" movement by which all workers staged a general strike for the sake of dispatch workers. The panelists from Switzerland explained a case in which improving the conditions of nonregular workers had led to the improvement of conditions for regular workers too and spoke about the conclusion of collective agreements. The exchange of opinions among the panelists themselves focused especially on what activities are necessary to achieve gender equality in wages and raise the ratio of organized nonregular workers.
The symposium ended with a closing address by JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo, who said that JILAF intended to meet expectations by planning more symposiums and other events in the future that would be useful for everyone's activities.