JILAF invited a total of 10 persons (4 men and 6 women) from China and South Korea to visit Japan from July 21 to August 3.
The participants in this team were dispatched from national center headquarters and related research institutes and legal consultation offices, so they showed a lot of interest in ways of solving problems and issues relating to workers at the national level. Also, they asked many questions about labour-management consultations, procedures at the time of collective bargaining, methods of gathering information, and so on.
Although China and South Korea differ in terms of social, economic, and political conditions, given their common standpoints as trade union officials, the participants were able to discover common issues in the present conditions of workers and other matters.
In the labour-related lectures, they learned about such topics as the characteristics of labour-management relations, the role of trade unions, and labour legislation in Japan. Asking many questions, they deepened their understanding of a wide range of issues, such as the difference between labour-management consultations and collective bargaining; the organizational structure of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), industrial federations, and company-based unions; and relations between trade unions and the government in Japan. In particular, the problem of nonregular workers is a common one for Japan, China, and South Korea, and on many occasions the participants repeatedly exchanged opinions on this topic in their search for a solution.
In the industrial federation lecture, the participants learned about the general activities of Denryoku Soren (Federation of Electric Power Related Industry Workers’ Unions of Japan) and in particular engaged in discussions about industrial policymaking and international activities. Regarding international activities, they asked many questions about Industriall’s volunteer activities and environmental-preservation activities. They also showed much interest in political activities.
In the RENGO Wakayama program, the participants visited Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and inspected inside its plant. They then engaged in discussions covering such issues as efforts to improve the workplace environment and the current status of nonregular workers. In addition, the participants asked questions about the company’s principles, methods of disseminating them, and so on and deepened their understanding of joint efforts by labour and management to boost productivity.
In the discussion with RENGO Wakayama, the participants heard about its action policies and so on and then exchanged opinions. They expressed their opinions and asked questions about many topics, including efforts to organize nonregular workers, the ratio of women executives, and labour counseling by regional branches of RENGO, thereby increasing their understanding of the role played by RENGO’s regional branches.