KOILAF Invitation Program for Trade Union Activists

The Korea International Labour Foundation (KOILAF) of the Korea Labour Foundation (KLF) invited four trade union officials from Japan to participate in its invitation program for trade union activists held in Seoul on May 19–24. The objectives of this program, which began in 2008, are to give the Japanese participants the opportunity to learn about Korea’s labour-management relations, tripartite arrangements, labour situation, the activities of single unions and industrial federations, and other topics, to deepen mutual understanding, and to enhance trust and exchange between Japanese and Korean unions.

KLF Representative Chairman Park In-sang delivered a welcoming message of solidarity, saying, “We have been holding this invitation program since 2008, and so far there have been lively discussions on such issues as nonregular workers and extension of the mandatory retirement age. In order to make the relationship of trust between Korea and Japan even more solid, it is necessary to strengthen ties through labour diplomacy and private-sector diplomacy. Now is the time for the trade unions of both countries to actively display their roles.”

Among other activities, the program consisted of (1) an explanation of the situation and issues relating to nonregular workers in Korea and the projects of its Career Transition Center For 40 Plus; (2) a lecture on labour-management relations in Korea; (3) an explanation and discussion of the projects of the Korean Economic and Social Development Commission (formerly called the Tripartite Commission); (4) a visit to the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) and discussion; (5) an inspection of the Korea Employment Information Service; (6) an inspection of a workplace (semiconductor maker SK Hynix Inc.); and (7) a workshop on the present conditions of nonregular workers and protective policies in the two countries.

In the workshop, which was the main event in the program, the Japanese and Korean sides both gave presentations on the theme of the present conditions of nonregular workers and protective policies. The Japanese side reported on the revised Labour Contract Act, the situation of nonregular workers in Japan, the efforts of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) to tackle this issue, and the efforts of Joho Roren (Federation of Information and Communication Technology Service Workers of Japan) in light of the revision of labour-related legislation. On the Korean side, meanwhile, the FKTU reported on legislation concerning nonregular workers, problems in the system, and protective policies. In the lively discussions that followed, questions were asked about such issues as the cooling-off period in Japan’s revised Labour Contract Act and the involvement of the Economic and Social Development Commission in legislation concerning nonregular workers in Korea.

Finally, the participants made such comments as “Japan and Korea share similar labour-management issues, such as the problem of aging societies with a low birthrate and the problem of nonregular employment. Although there are no easy solutions to these issues, I felt that if Japanese and Korean trade unions continue mutual discussions from now on, we can both discover clues for solutions” and “I felt that relations of trust between the FKTU and RENGO are very important for strengthening ties between Japan and Korea.”

Schedule

DateContents
05/20MonIntroduction of KLF projects; lecture on labour-management relations in Korea
05/21TueVisit to the Economic and Social Development Commission; visit to the FKTU
05/22WedVisit to the Korea Employment Information Service; workplace visit (SK Hynix Inc.)
05/23ThuJapan-Korea workshop

Speech (orientation) by KLF Representative Chairman Park In-sang

Discussions with the FKTU

Workplace visit (SK Hynix Inc.)