JILAF invited six persons from the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (CITU), Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), Thai Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-TC), and Confederation of Thai Electrical Appliances, Electronic, Automobile and Metal Workers (TEAM) to visit Japan from November 25 to December 1.
The program for this reinvitation team was based on the theme of the role of trade unions in the improvement of national life. The aim was to deepen mutual understanding between Japan and the participating countries about the improvement of national life centered on the issue of minimum wages, which especially concerns trade unions.
In the labour-related lecture, the participants learned about such topics as the basic system and process of determining minimum wages in Japan. At RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), they heard an explanation of the “secure society centered on work as its core” concept that RENGO is currently promoting as a priority issue, especially measures to assist nonregular workers. In the industrial federation and workplace visit, with the cooperation of Joho Roren (Federation of Information and Communication Technology Service Workers of Japan), they were able to hear about efforts in Joho Roren to realize minimum wage agreements. They also visited NTT Claruty Corp., whose union is affiliated with Joho Roren, where they learned about efforts to employ disabled persons and inspected the disabled-friendly workplace environment there.
The program also included an international symposium on the theme of “Minimum Wage Trends in ASEAN Countries: What Should Trade Unions Do to Improve National Life?” About 70 persons attended, including representatives of unions, employers’ organizations, and the government, as well as researchers and company personnel. In the first part of the symposium, the invited participants delivered reports about their own countries, including such topics as the present state of workers’ lives, the mechanism for determining minimum wages, and minimum wage issues and prospects. In the second part there was a panel discussion in which the panelists discussed such issues as the nonapplication of minimum wages and the impact of minimum wage hikes. The audience actively asked questions as well.
Nearly all of the reinvitation team participants had taken part in JILAF’s invitation program in the past. At the evaluation meeting on the final day, they reported how, in their initial visits, they had learned that Japanese labour and management place the utmost importance on dialogue and how, since their return home, they had been making great use of this Japanese model of labour-management relations as a reference for their own daily activities.
Furthermore, during their latest visit, they showed much interest in the role and function of the Minimum Wage Council in Japan. On the basis of their experience and acquired knowledge, it is expected that from now on they will tackle the issue of what unions should do for the improvement of national life in their own countries.
|■||Joho Roren||■||NTT Claruty Corp.|
Many thanks to everyone.