KOILAF Invites Young Unionists from Japan

An invitation program for young unionists, sponsored by the Korea International Labour Foundation (KOILAF), was held in Seoul, South Korea, on April 1–6 with the participation of four young unionists from Japan (from RENGO [Japanese Trade Union Confederation]; the Japan Federation of Service and Distributive Workers’ Unions [JSD]; and JILAF). Started in 2008, this program aims to enable participants to learn about labour-management relations and the labour situation in South Korea, deepen mutual understanding, and promote exchange between young unionists from Japan and South Korea.

KOILAF was founded in 1997 with the objective of consolidating labour-management relations both domestically and internationally and strengthening international cooperation through exchange in the field of labour. In 2011 KOILAF merged with the Labour-Management Joint Reemployment Support Center and became part of the Korea Labour Foundation (KLF). At present KOILAF, which keeps its English name, takes charge of the KLF’s international labour exchange and cooperation projects, such as support for workers in foreign companies and support for foreign workers. Its main projects include support for job creation, promotion of women’s employment, support for labour-management cooperation, improvements in employment discrimination, and international labour exchange and cooperation.

At the beginning of the program, speaking on behalf of the organizers, KLF Chairman Park In-sang stated, “Until now we have held discussions and deepened exchange between young unionists from Korea and Japan on the organization of young workers and the problem of non-regular employment. In the workshop on the impact of tenure extension on youth employment, which is our theme this time, I hope that both sides will engage in a lively debate and discuss solutions.”

In the program, the participants heard a lecture by KOILAF Managing Director Kim Sung-jin on labour-management relations in South Korea and visited the Outplacement Service Center, the Economic and Social Development Commission, the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU), and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).

In addition, there was a workshop on tenure extension and the impact on youth employment, organized jointly with young leaders of the FKTU. With KOILAF Managing Director Kim in attendance, the Japanese participants reported on such topics as the revision of legislation relating to the employment of elderly people, the employment policy of RENGO, and the activities and efforts of the JSD. The Korean participants, meanwhile, explained about such issues as the relationship between tenure extension and youth employment, the employment policy of the government and an evaluation, and the future strategy of Korean unions. Among others, the Korean participants asked questions about the payment and duration of benefits for the continued employment of elderly people in Japan and RENGO’s efforts to promote the regular employment of “freeters” (job-hopping part-time workers).

Finally, the participants made such comments as “From now on also I would like to engage in information exchange and think about how the experience of South Korea, which has taken the lead in the implementation of laws and regulations, can be utilized in the Japanese labour movement” and “It would be good for young Japanese and Korean unionists, who will lead their labour movements in the future, to have opportunities to actively discuss issues faced by the two countries.”

Schedule

DateContents
04/02MonLecture on labour-management relations
Visit to the Reemployment Support Center
04/03TueVisit to the Economic and Social Development Commission
04/04WedVisit to the FKTU
Visit to the KCTU
04/05ThuWorkshop for young unionists

Discussions with the FKTU

Visit to the KCTU

Visit to the Economic and Social Development Commission