JILAF visited the Thai capital of Bangkok and Surat Thani in southern Thailand from November 13 (Friday) to 18 (Wednesday) for meetings and seminars related to the SGRA project (Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network), which is being implemented with subsidies from the Japanese government (Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare).
During the stay, the second meeting of the Central Promotion Committee (PC), which comprises members of the Thai government, labour, and management and JILAF, was held. The participants confirmed the state of progress and achievements of the project in the current fiscal year. As achievements of the project, among others, it was reported that (1) a total of 60 new network members had been organized through Life Support Seminars in Khon Kaen in the northeast and Surat Thani in the south of the country; (2) the bridging of network members to vocational training courses organized by the government and others had been accomplished in Bangkok in the center, Chiang Mai in the north, and Khon Kaen in the northeast of the country (soil improvement and organic farming, ancient-style massage, English conversation, and entrepreneurial support for domestic workers organized by the International Labour Organization [ILO]); and (3) the incomes of network members had improved through employment, jobs, productivity improvement, and so on, and SGRA cooperative societies (credit unions) had expanded. In addition, the participants in the meeting discussed policies aimed at achieving the project’s complete independence and sustained development in the future.
Furthermore, the 2nd Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen Enlarged Working Committee Joint Seminar was held in Bangkok with the aims of strengthening and developing the field project and further promoting independence and autonomy through SGRA cooperative societies, and the 3rd Enlarged Working Committee Seminar was held in Surat Thani in southern Thailand, where the project has been started in the current fiscal year.
In this seminar, the participants heard about Japan’s experience in the transformation and promotion of workers’ mutual aid from Mr. Xxxxxx Shimazaki, head of the Mutual-Aid Insurance Department at Zenrosai Kyokai (National Association for Workers’ Welfare and Cooperative Insurance) and Mr. Naohiro Tsukamoto, head of Zenrosai Kyokai’s survey and research section, toward the further development of SGRA cooperative societies and strengthening of their mutual-aid functions (in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Khon Kaen) and the establishment of a cooperative society in Surat Thani. In response, the participants enthusiastically asked questions about such issues in Japan as (1) the difference between workers’ mutual aid and insurance, (2) the competent government ministry and legal basis, (3) premiums for celebration, condolence, and other mutual insurance and guarantees, (4) the setting of premiums and methods of collection, (5) the roles of labour banks and Zenrosai (National Federation of Workers and Consumers Insurance Cooperatives) and collaboration between them, (6) the liability reserve and total assets/contract amount, and (7) the mechanism of returning surplus money to members. The representatives from Zenrosai Kyokai gave pertinent replies to these questions.
|11/14||Sat||2nd Central Promotion Committee Meeting|
|11/15||Sun||2nd Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen Enlarged Working Committee Joint Seminar|
|11/16||Mon||3rd Surat Thani EWC Seminar|