English-Speaking Africa Team

JILAF invited 10 persons from 8 organizations in 7 English-speaking African countries (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) to visit Japan from December 8 to 21, 2013.

Many of the participants in this team were engaged in daily labour movement activities amid confrontational industrial relations, so they showed an extremely high level of interest in the good labour-management relations existing in Japan. They also had much praise for Japanese society in general, including the social security system and high level of economic development.

At the same time, however, they were curious as to why, in a country like Japan where good industrial relations are being maintained and the rights of workers are firmly protected by law, the union organization ratio is falling, the labour movement appears stagnant, and many women quit their jobs at the time of childbirth. In reply to such questions, the Japanese speakers explained how these issues are being tackled, thereby deepening the participants’ understanding.

In the industrial federation lecture given by Jichiro (All-Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers’ Union), the participants were able to hear an explanation of Jichiro’s organization strategy and its own mutual-aid schemes. In the RENGO Saga program, they were able to discuss with officials about such topics as measures to organize women. They also visited Hello Work Saga, where they learned about Japan’s job introduction system, whereby jobseekers can gain access to nationwide job vacancy information. In addition, as a representative workplace in Saga Prefecture, the participants visited Namura Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., where they observed the production site and were able to gain an understanding of the organization and activities of the plant’s labour union.

Against the background of Africa’s abundant natural and human resources, it is likely that multinational enterprises, including Japanese companies, will increase their presence on the continent in the future. The maintenance and development of constructive industrial relations are essential to ensure stable corporate management foundations and attract investment from overseas. Trade unions in African countries are required to understand that both labour and management must be able to enjoy the benefits.

On the final day the participants drew up individual action plans showing how they intended to use what they had learned in the program in their activities back home from now on. Their proposals included “survey and research for the establishment of a labour bank,” “efforts to promote the productivity movement,” and “introduction of the concept of labour-management cooperation.”

List of Organization That Cooperated in the Visit

JichiroRENGO Saga
Namura Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.Namura Shipbuilding Workers’ Union
Hello Work Saga

Many thanks to everyone.

English-Speaking Africa Team Participants

Trades Union Congress, Ghana (TUC GHANA)

1.NameMs. Hilda Apini Atia
 Name of organizationTrades Union Congress, Ghana (TUC GHANA)
 Union experience7

Central Organisation of Trade Unions of Kenya(COTU)

2.NameMs. Damaris Wanjiru Muhika
 Name of organizationCentral Organisation of Trade Unions of Kenya(COTU)
 Union experience3

Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC)

3.NameMr. Emmanuel Okechukwu Ugboaja
 Name of organizationNigeria Labour Congress(NLC)
 Union experience15

Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC)

4.NameMs. Oluchi Okorie Ume
 Name of organizationNigeria Union of Petroleum & Natural Gas Workers
 Union experience11

National Organisation of Trade Unions(NOTU)

5.NameMr. Stephen Wafula Barasa
 Name of organizationHorticulture Industrial, Service Providers
 Union experience7

The Federation of Unions of South Africa(FEDUSA)

6.NameMs. Dorothy Nokuzola Ndhlovu
 Name of organizationThe Federation of Unions of South Africa(FEDUSA)
 Union experience23

National Council of Trade Unions(NACTU)

7.NameMr. Narius Moloto
 Name of organizationNational Council of Trade Unions(NACTU)
 Union experience25

Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)

8.NameMr. Cosmas Mukuka
 Name of organizationZambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
 Union experience13

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)

9.NameMs. Shithokozile Siwela
 Name of organizationZimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
 Union experience14

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)

10.NameMs. Grace Zvikomborero Muphunde
 Name of organizationZimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
 Union experience9

Photos of Participants

Labour-related lecture

Visit to the RENGO Headquarters

“Exchange of Views on Labour Situation” meeting

Visit to Namura Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.

Discussion with RENGO Saga

Visit to Hello Work Saga