JILAF and the Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) jointly held a multinational seminar in the Thai capital of Bangkok for four days from November 25 to 28 on the main theme of “Globalization, Economic Integration, and the Role of Trade Unions: Toward Employment Stability, the Prevention of Industrial Disputes, Etc. through the Building of Constructive Industrial Relations.” The seminar was attended by trade union leaders in countries in the Asia-Pacific region (Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, and Vietnam).
At the beginning of the seminar, speaking on behalf of the organizers, Ms. Hilda Sanchez Martinez, senior specialist in workers’ activities at the ILO Headquarters, made an opening address, and then JILAF Assistant Secretary General Ryo Saito explained the purpose and objectives of the seminar and urged the participants to actively take part.
JILAF Assistant Secretary General Saito then delivered a lecture titled “Socioeconomic Development and the Social Role of the Labour Movement,” in which he shared information about such issues as (1) worldwide changes brought about by globalization and the position of Asia (a potentially huge economic zone consisting of the ASEAN 10 as well as growing countries as south Asian counties), (2) environmental changes surrounding workers brought about by globalization, and (3) the present economic conditions of Asian countries and future outlook. Assistant Secretary General Saito explained that Japan’s experience in the transformation of industrial relations (striking a balance between cooperation through labour-management consultations and confrontation through collective bargaining) would be useful in responding to industrial relations, which are becoming increasingly complex together with economic development, and encouraged the participants to make efforts to build constructive industrial relations in their workplaces.
In addition, lectures were given by Mr, Ariel Castro, an expert at the ILO Turin Training Center, Professor Ofreneo from the University of the Philippines, Professor Bishuwajit from Jawaharlal Nehru University, ILO expert Mr. Ponsul, and others on such topics as the ILO’s efforts to include labour clauses in free trade agreements, how to interpret labour clauses in free trade agreements, and the trends of multinational companies and the role of trade unions. The participants gained a comprehensive understanding of the present state of such issues as globalization, economic integration, and free trade agreements and reaffirmed the increasing importance of the labour movement.
During the seminar there were also group discussions by region on the theme of “The Present State and Issues of Globalization and the Role of Trade Unions.” The participants divided into three groups by region and discussed and gave presentations on the merits and demerits of globalization and the role of trade unions. It was noted that while economic vitalization, increased job opportunities, and so on can be expected to result from globalization, it also was the cause of such issues as an increase in the number of informal-sector workers and nonregular workers, a detrimental amendment of labour laws, the promotion of privatization, and an increase of industrial disputes. In response, JILAF and the ILO emphasized once again that the building of constructive industrial relations was important for the solution of issues arising from globalization and that the promotion of trade union solidarity and organization and social dialogue would be beneficial as well.
On the final day, the participants presented action plans titled “The Role of Trade Unions amid Advancing Economic Integration: Aiming for the Building of Constructive Industrial Relations.” They made such statements as “I want to strengthen collaboration beyond countries and regions and develop a labour movement that aims to build constructive industrial relations throughout Asia as a whole.” The four-day seminar ended with pertinent comments from JILAF and the ILO.
|11/25||Wed||Seminar day 1|
|11/26||Thu||Seminar day 2|
|11/27||Fri||Seminar day 3|
|11/28||Sat||Seminar day 4|