INTUC/JILAF Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in India

Scene of the seminar

JILAF and the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) jointly held an industrial relations and labour policy seminar in Vijayawada in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on July 6–7. The seminar was attended by 24 INTUC-affiliated union leaders, including three people from unions of Japanese companies operating locally.
Vijayawada, the venue of the seminar, is a large city situated adjacent to the new state capital of Amaravathi, which is scheduled to be completed in 2024 following the division of Andhra Pradesh in 2014. In view of the entry of Japanese companies into this region, the main themes of the seminar were the role of trade unions in preventing industrial disputes and the importance of a response to multinational companies by trade unions. Discussions focused on these issues.
Following opening addresses from JILAF and the INTUC, Mr. G.W. ????? ?????, head of a labour research institute attached to the INTUC, gave a lecture titled “The Revision of Labour Legislation in India and Its Impact on Industrial Relations.” JILAF speakers then gave talks on the organizational structure and activities of Japanese trade unions, especially wage demands and negotiations, the labour-management consultation system, and action to realize policies, and a lecture titled “The Role of Trade Unions in Building the Next Development Stage.”
Among other things, the participants commented that the application of legislation on minimum security, such as the minimum wage and social security, was not making much headway and that rules on the number of union members covered and the registration system were hindering the acceptance of negotiations. Discussions also focused on the differences between Japan and India when multiple unions exist within the same company (the trade union registration and certification system, obligation to accept collective bargaining, etc.), the impact of this on the negotiation process and working conditions, and the code of conduct of multinational companies. Discussions also took place on such issues as the attitude of management toward trade unions in Japan at Japanese companies operating in India and how to respond to policies to stimulate the domestic demand necessary for the formation of the domestic market (including the mitigation of inequalities).
On the second day of the seminar the participants divided into three groups for group discussions and then presentations on the themes of “the role of trade unions in preventing industrial disputes” and “issues in organization expansion and strengthening and the response to them.” Among others, the participants raised such issues as the inadequate penetration of protection due to the large number of unorganized workers, the difficulty of attracting members to single unions due to employers drawing a line between “managers” and ordinary workers, and poor human resource development. As a response to these issues, the participants urged the need to call for more participation in the labour movement, strengthen the capability to negotiate with employers, and improve working conditions and living standards by bolstering action to realize policies. As issues of concern, they also mentioned the inadequate application of social security, the harmful impact of having multiple unions existing in the same workplace, and internal discordance.
JILAF Secretary General Masayuki Shioda wrapped up the seminar by saying, “The root of activities should be the workplace. On a daily basis you must make it clear to both union members and nonmembers who the union’s contact person is. At the same time, it is important to strengthen the financial base of the organization. One daily activity is to improve the workplace and solve individual problems. Such problems can be solved on the basis of relations of trust between labour and management. I want you to build up a forward-looking dialogue between labour and management.” Secretary General Shioda stressed the need to strengthen the response capabilities of unions against the background of organization expansion and strengthening. The seminar ended with INTUC Secretary General V.R. Jaganathan commenting, “It is very significant that the seminar was held in this region, where investment by foreign capital is likely to increase from now on. I want you without fail to take what you have learned through the discussions here back to your workplaces and put them into practice.”

Schedule

DateContents
07/06WedIndustrial relations and labour policy seminar day 1
07/07ThuIndustrial relations and labour policy seminar day 2
07/08FriVisit to the site of the new Andhra Pradesh state government office building (on the outskirts of Amaravathi)

Photos of Participants

Address by INTUC Central Executive Committee member Mr. V.R. Jaganathan

Lecture by labour research institute head Mr. G.W.

Group discussions