JILAF invited a total of six persons from three countries (two each from China, South Korea, and Vietnam, including three women) to visit Japan as a reinvitation team for six days from October 12 to 17, 2015.
In an expanded “Exchange of Views on Labour Situation” meeting, the participants made presentations of labour conditions, industrial disputes, and trade union activities in their own countries and shared information with Japanese trade union officials and representatives from employers’ organizations attending. The program was also designed to deepen their understanding of current labour issues, the state of trade unions, and other matters in Japan.
In labour-related lectures, the participants learned about recent employment and labour problems, the mechanism for resolving industrial disputes, and other issues in Japan. They asked questions about such matters as conditions, problems, and countermeasures concerning nonregular workers and means of settling industrial disputes.
The expanded “Exchange of Views on Labour Situation” meeting, which was held on October 15, was attended by about 50 persons from trade unions, the government, and companies in Japan. The participants from the three countries reported on the labour movements in their countries, examples of responses to industrial disputes, and other issues.
The Chinese participants reported that, amid China’s rapid economic development, employment patterns were becoming diversified. As a result of an increase in the number of nonregular workers, they said, industrial relations were becoming unstable, and the number of collective industrial disputes was steadily rising. They expressed concern that such developments were exerting a negative impact on social and economic stability. For example, they introduced the case of an industrial dispute occurring after a multinational retail company suddenly closed shop without giving any prior notice to employees. They emphasized the importance of trade unions in responding to such situations.
The South Korean participants reported that trade union membership was declining as a result of the increase in nonregular employment and service industries. They also reported on the labour reform bills submitted by the administration of President Park Geun-hye (the “trilateral grand compromise”), which would involve “disadvantageous changes” in ordinary dismissal and work regulations. They explained how trade unions had been unable to completely resist the demands of the government and employers, as well as the struggle of a chemical-related union.
The Vietnamese participants reported that 74.9% of all disputes in Vietnam involved foreign companies, such as Taiwanese and South Korean firms, and that the main causes of disputes were wages, social security, and the failure to observe labour agreements. They also outlined how disputes were handled in their country.
The participants also paid a visit to NHK Roren (Federation of All-NHK [Japan Broadcasting Corporation] Labour Unions), where they heard about the organization’s structure and campaign policies and discussed such matters as the role of an industrial federation in view of the high ratio of nonregular workers and diversity and complexity of jobs, problems facing nonregular workers and countermeasures, and efforts to promote the participation of young people in trade unions.