Visit to RENGO
JILAF invited a total of 10 persons (including 4 women) from five countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay) to visit Japan from January 15 to 28, 2015. Many of the participants had concerns about the declining influence of trade unions and made efforts to absorb knowledge about the Japanese labour movement with a view to improving the image of trade unions and increasing the unionization ratio in their own countries.
Through the labour-related lectures they gained an insight into the system of company-based unions in Japan, asking many questions about organization and the building of constructive industrial relations. At the same time, they positively introduced the activities of their own organizations and engaged in information exchange with other organizations, always showing a forward-looking attitude toward obtaining useful information for their own future activities.
In the visit to the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, they received a lecture on employment, work styles, and the role of the labour administration and asked questions about policies in response to the aging society and the mechanism of Japan’s pension system.
In the visit to RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), they showed empathy with Japan’s system of company-based unions and received an outline of such issues as the mechanism of the labour-management consultative system and examples of resolving the problem of organization in small and medium-sized enterprises. They also discussed the reasons for the declining influence of trade unions today and solutions.
In the regional program, the participants visited RENGO Aichi, where they engaged in discussions about Japanese industrial relations, the spring labour struggle, and specific efforts to address such topics as decent work. In order to observe an actual workplace, they visited a plant of Okuma Corporation, where they inspected the latest facilities enabling the small-lot production of a large variety of products. In discussions with labour and management at the plant, they asked questions about such issues as the labour-management consultative system, quality-improvement meetings, and efforts to ensure job stability.
In the lecture by the Japan Productivity Center, since some participants thought it was normal for workers to be exploited by employers, they expressed amazement at Japan’s three guiding principles of productivity. They also showed much interest in specific ways of ensuring fair distribution to workers. At the Zenrosai Kyokai (National Association for Workers’ Welfare and Cooperative Insurance), they should much interest in the mutual-aid insurance system, since their own countries also had mutual-aid systems for workers in some form or other.