JILAF invited a team of nine persons (including two women) from eight organizations in four Central and South American countries to visit Japan from October 14 to 27.
Throughout the two-week program, the participants showed an awareness of the problems in various fields and actively put forward constructive opinions and questions at the lectures and places visited, comparing the situation in Japan with conditions in their own countries and engaging in discussions aimed at finding solutions to the issues.
The participants showed particular interest in the problem of the increasing number of dispatch workers in Japan, since the same phenomenon is occurring in their countries as well, and many of them argued that trade unions should give top priority to this issue from now on. They also showed great interest in the problem of the declining organization rate in Japan and the raison d’être of unions.
In the RENGO Gunma program, the participants visited Hello Work Maebashi, the Labour Policy Division of the Gunma Prefectural Government, and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., where they heard explanations of their business and activities and engaged in discussions. In discussions with executives of RENGO Gunma, they asked questions about such matters as RENGO Gunma’s priority activities and policies, the sense of trust that people feel toward union activities, and employment measures for young people. At Hello Work Maebashi, among other things, they asked questions about the founding objectives of Hello Work, the number of industrial accidents, measures for disabled persons and the elderly, and support for companies offering employment.
In the industrial federation and workplace program, the participants visited Kikan Roren (Japan Federation of Basic Industry Workers’ Unions) and the East Japan Works Keihin Area of JFE Steel Corporation, which belongs to Kikan Roren. Here the participants engaged in discussions on such topics as industrial accidents, recruitment conditions (gender and age), the method of receiving improvement proposals from workers, and the existence of bonuses in accordance with the content of these proposals. At the East Japan Works Keihin Area of JFE Steel, they also observed the steelmaking process involving the reduction and melting of iron ore and saw workers (union members) working in a high-temperature environment. After that, they held discussions with union executives at JFE Steel and, in light of their workplace inspection, showed much interest in such topics as the existence of allowances for dangerous work, the number of industrial accidents, and the form of labour-management consultations on measures to improve the workplace environment.