JILAF invited 12 persons from 9 organizations in 7 Asian countries and regions to visit Japan from October 19 to November 1.
The team showed a very positive attitude toward the whole program, actively asking many questions at the lectures. Since the participants were of a relatively similar age group, there was a lot of lively exchange among them, and many said that they wanted to maintain mutual contact in the future.
In the labour-related lectures, the participants learned about such topics as the postwar history of Japanese labour unions; the Japanese labour union movement, including the annual spring struggle; the minimum wage system and labour legislation in Japan; and the management of democratic unions. They asked questions about various issues, such as the difference between collective bargaining and labour-management consultations, the maternity leave system in Japan, the tripartite consultation system, and the rights of public-sector workers.
In the visit to RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), they were given an explanation of RENGO’s organization and activities to achieve the target of a “10- million-strong RENGO,” as well as its concept of a “secure society centered on work as its core.” The participants asked questions about specific efforts to achieve gender equality (correction of the wage gap, participation of women in the labour movement, etc.) and RENGO’s involvement in politics.
In group discussions to enhance their negotiating skills as union officials, the participants divided into two groups, one on wages and the other on working conditions, and enthusiastically discussed how negotiations should be conducted in collective bargaining with reference to systems in their own countries and Japan.
As the industrial federation lecture, the participants heard an explanation from Denki Rengo (Japanese Electrical, Electronic, and Information Union) about its organization and campaign policy, as well as its own mechanism for the annual spring struggle and its efforts to build trust between labour and management. The participants showed much interest in such issues as the gender ratio in Denki Rengo and specific measures to promote organization.
In discussions with RENGO Hiroshima, the participants received an explanation of RENGO Hiroshima’s organization and its campaign policies for fiscal 2015 and beyond in light of the target of realizing a “10-million-strong RENGO.” They also heard about the peace movement and asked questions about issues particular to Hiroshima, such as the decline in the number of regular workers in the manufacturing industry and increase in the number of nonregular workers in the service industry. In addition, the participants visited the head office plant of Mazda Motor Corporation, where they were able to observe workers going about their jobs efficiently and without accident. Through discussions with the chairperson of the Central Executive Committee and others from the Mazda Motor Workers’ Union, they deepened their understanding of the union’s activities and constructive industrial relations.
At the Hello Work Hiroshima public employment office, the participants learned in detail about the Hello Work setup and the mechanism of unemployment insurance, as well as the job situation in Hiroshima (the large gap between the number of job offers and number of jobseekers). Although time was limited, they were also able to deepen their understanding by actually experiencing the job search terminals.