Visit to Kikan Roren
JILAF reinvited a total of six people (including two women) from Indonesia and Myanmar to visit Japan for seven days from November 27 to December 3.
The program included an expanded Exchange of Views on Labour Situation meeting, in which the participants reported on the labour situation, industrial disputes, and trade union activities in their own countries, as well as the supply of information by trade union officials, an employers’ organization, and others and activities to deepen their understanding of labour issues and the state of trade unions in Japan today.
In the labour-related lectures, the participants learned about recent employment and labour problems, the mechanism for resolving industrial disputes, and other topics. They asked a wide range of questions about such matters as vertical and horizontal (industrial federations and regional branches) ties in the organization of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), reasons for the gender wage gap, and details about the improvement of conditions for nonregular workers and their organization.
The expanded Exchange of Views on Labour Situation meeting, held on November 30 and subtitled “Industrial Disputes amid Intensifying Global Economic Competition and Efforts to Prevent Them,” was attended by a total of 47 people, including trade union officials and representatives from the government and related organizations. The participants from Indonesia and Myanmar reported on the latest labour situation in their countries and gave examples of industrial disputes. The Indonesian side introduced examples of how disputes at foreign companies were settled through cooperation with industrial federations, the national center, and international industrial federations. The Myanmar side, meanwhile, reported on cases where dismissals at foreign companies were withdrawn and nonregular workers in the public sector gained regular status. Through wide-ranging opinions and questions, the audience emphasized the significance of building constructive industrial relations through labour-management consultations before the outbreak of industrial disputes, and the participants agreed.
In their visit to an industrial federation, the participants visited Kikan Roren (Japan Federation of Basic Industry Workers’ Unions). In addition to learning about the structure and role of an industrial federation, in a presentation titled “The Role of Trade Unions in the Building of Constructive Industrial Relations,” they also received an explanation of the importance of relations of trust between labour and management based on the key words of “positive cycle.”
In discussions with JILAF directors, the participants expressed various opinions and questions, such as a request for JILAF to become a mediating body at the time of industrial disputes; a comment that there should have been more opportunities for discussions during the program; a question about how trade unions should lobby the administration; and an expression of intent to convey the activities of Japan’s Central Labour Relations Commission back in Myanmar. Interest was also shown in university lectures by trade unions in the Institute of Labour Education and Culture. Furthermore, a participant from Indonesia who, during the previous visit, had expressed determination to expand organization as an action plan, gave an interim report on those activities. In response, JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo emphasized the importance of organization, adding that it is essential to train next-generation leaders for this purpose.