JILAF invited a total of 12 persons (including 7 women) from six countries in the Asia-Pacific region to visit Japan from June 2 to 15.
Through the labour-related lectures, the participants learned about the features of the Japanese labour movement and labour-management relations and the role of trade unions in Japan. In the lecture on “Social and Economic Development and the Role of Trade Unions,” they learned about the role of trade unions and the thinking of union leaders amid social and economic development and the progress of globalization, thereby increasing their self-awareness as union officers. In particular, they showed much interest in Japan’s spring labour offensive, labour legislation, and the situation of nonregular workers and positively studied the efforts of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) and industrial federations to address the causes of the falling organization ratio.
In group discussions aimed at enhancing their negotiating skills as union executives, the participants discussed the issues of wages and working hours. Imagining the state of collective bargaining in their own countries, they engaged actively in discussions and were able to learn about negotiating methods to convince management, as well as the importance of leadership and teamwork.
In the workplace visit, part of the RENGO Ibaraki program, the participants visited the Hitachi Urban Planning and Development Systems Co. Mito Works, where they inspected the actual sites for manufacturing and testing elevators and observed the workplace environment. Afterward they had discussions with union executives, asking questions about such issues as the method of electing executives and wages for full-time union officers. Hearing about the democratic way of electing union officers in Japan, they clearly felt the difference with their own countries.
In a joint session with the Overseas Human Resources and Industry Development Association (HIDA), the participants heard a lecture on “Constructive Labour-Management Relations and the Productivity Movement.” In the group discussions that followed, they engaged in lively discussions with the HIDA participants (overseas trainees in charge of personnel and labour affairs), exchanging opinions on such topics as labour-management consultations, collective bargaining, and productivity improvement as seen from both labour and management perspectives. This was an extremely significant opportunity for the two sides, representing labour and management respectively, to engage in discussions together.