ITUC-TC/JILAF Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Thailand

JILAF and the Thai Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-TC) jointly held a two-day industrial relations and labour policy seminar in Bangkok on July 17–18. The seminar, which is commissioned by the Japanese government (Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare), was attended by about 50 people, including representatives of the four national centers affiliated to the ITUC-TC, officials from main industrial unions (including Japanese company unions), and representatives from the Thai Ministry of Labour and the Employers’ Confederation of Thailand (ECOT).
At the beginning of the seminar, JILAF Councilor Oyama and ITUC-TC President Chinnachot Saengsang (president of the Labour Congress of Thailand), speaking on behalf of the organizers, welcomed the participants and outlined the purpose and objectives of the seminar. Addresses were then made by Mr. ????? ?????, deputy director of the General Affairs Department in the Bureau of Labour Protection and Welfare of the Thai Ministry of Labour, ECOT Secretary General Siriwan Romchattong, First Secretary Hironori Tsuboi of the Japanese Embassy in Thailand, and Mr. Arun Kumar, a senior specialist at the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, who expressed their expectations for the seminar and emphasized the importance of constructive industrial relations. In particular, the representative of the Thai government expressed profound gratitude for the continued cooperation of JILAF and the Japanese government and shared information on the present political situation and industrial relations in Thailand.
Next, JILAF Assistant Secretary General Ryo Saito gave a lecture titled “Economic and Social Development and the Social Role of the Labour Movement,” in which he raised such issues as (1) changes in Asia brought about by globalization and the position of Thailand (a driving force in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the ASEAN Economic Community); (2) the role that the labour movement and labour leaders should play toward social and economic development and improvement of the people’s lives; (3) efforts to rally and bring together the multiple national centers; (4) employment stability and the prevention of needless industrial disputes through the building of constructive industrial relations; (5) collective bargaining and the labour-management consultation system; (6) the three principles of productivity and fair distribution of the results of corporate activities; and (7) the principles of labour-management equality and autonomy and the importance of human resource development (investment in people). JILAF Councilor Oyama then explained employment, labour, and the safety net in Japan (employment insurance, industrial accident compensation insurance, pension, medical insurance, and the livelihood protection system).
Next, Professor ????? ????? gave a lecture titled “The Building of a Robust Labour Movement: Cooperation in Response to New Liberal Democratic Globalization and Political Crisis,” in which he pointed to steps toward the integration of the Thai labour movement and called for a transformation from a movement centering on dispersed struggles to a movement centering on integrated dialogue.
After expressing their approval of industrial relations in Japan and the attitude of respect for trade unions in leading Japanese companies operating in Thailand, the participants stated their opinions and asked questions about many topics, including (1) the process leading to the inauguration of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation); (2) the relationship between informal-sector workers and the labour movement (the difficulty of organization); (3) the disparaging attitude of Thai employers (and especially midlevel managers) toward workers and industrial disputes; (4) the labour movement and politics and the role of trade unions in the transition to civilian government; (5) fair distribution toward the correction of inequalities; (6) the continuing fall in the unionization rate due to the disorderly jumble of national centers (present rate: 1.5%); (7) the public relations strategy of the labour movement (use of social network services, etc.) and appeal to young people; and (8) the desirable minimum wage system (at present a uniform 300 baht/day nationwide).
On the second day, following a briefing by Mr. Teruhiko Sekiguchi, director of the JILAF Thailand Office, titled “Toward the Building of Constructive Industrial Relations through the Solidarity of the Thai Labour Movement,” the participants held a plenary session on the theme and announced a joint declaration of the seminar. Specifically, the declaration called for the establishment of a working committee to formulate policy system demands for all workers (consisting of two members from each organization) and the fostering of trust between labour and management and building of constructive industrial relations through contributions to productivity improvement. JILAF Assistant Secretary General Saito and Director Sekiguchi added pertinent comments and urged the steady implementation of the declaration.
JILAF Councilor Oyama ended the seminar with the comment, “Understanding the various opinions and demands of workers and union members through dutiful organizational management, integrating them, and forming policies from them is what the democratic process is all about. This seminar has been very fruitful, and it marks a new step forward with the adoption of a joint declaration. We look forward to your strenuous efforts.”

Schedule

DateContents
07/23SatIndustrial relations and labour policy seminar day 1
07/24SunIndustrial relations and labour policy seminar day 2

Photos of Participants

Address by ITUC-TC President Chinnachot Saengsang

Opening address by Deputy Director of the Thai Ministry of Labour

Opening address by ECOT Secretary General Siriwan Romchattong

Opening address by ILO specialist Mr. Arun Kumar

Opening address by First Secretary Hironori Tsuboi of the Japanese Embassy in Thailand

Presentation by Professor

Compilation of general action plan