SGRA Project in Thailand (January)

A JILAF delegation visited Khon Kaen in northeastern Thailand from January 21 to 27, 2015, for the third meeting of the Central Promotion Committee and a national workshop relating to the SGRA (Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network) project.
In the third meeting of the Central Promotion Committee held on January 23, after business and activity reports for fiscal 2014, a committee member gave an assessment of the project in the current fiscal year. JILAF Deputy Secretary General Ryo Saito then proposed a fiscal 2015 activity plan, which was unanimously approved.
This meeting was followed on January 24 by a national workshop attended by 50 people involved in the project from the Thai government, labour, and management. The purpose of this national workshop was to look back on the project in fiscal 2014 and confirm and decide an activity plan for fiscal 2015. Such national workshops were also held in the other two countries where the SGRA project is being implemented (Bangladesh on January 13 and Nepal on February 9). Representatives of government, labour, and management in these three countries then gathered in Bangkok on February 28 to share information on project achievements and issues in the three countries and discuss how the project might be further developed and expanded to other countries in the future.
In the opening addresses at the national workshop, Director Peeraphat of the Office of the Secretary in the Ministry of Labour’s Department of Labour Protection and Welfare welcomed all of the participants and expressed gratitude to the Japanese government and JILAF. On behalf of the organizers, JILAF Deputy Secretary General Saito expressed his appreciation to everyone for their participation, including officials from Surat Thani in southern Thailand, where the project is scheduled to be introduced in the next fiscal year; representatives from Laos, where a pilot project is scheduled to be started; and representatives from the Bangkok Office of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Deputy Secretary General Saito also explained the purpose of the workshop. In addition, Minister Akihiko Uchikawa of the Japanese Embassy in Thailand explained the significance of the workshop and the importance of the SGRA project and expressed expectations on behalf of the Japanese government.
These opening addresses were followed by presentations on the achievements and issues of the project in the current fiscal year by government, labour, and management representatives in the three districts where the project is being implemented (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Khon Kaen). JILAF then proposed the fiscal 2015 Thai SGRA activity plan, which had been approved by the above-mentioned meeting of the Central Promotion Committee. The participants offered many forward-looking opinions and requests on a range of matters, including (1) self-help efforts toward the independent management of credit unions and expansion of membership; (2) the provision of government-sponsored training in organic agricultural methods to network members engaged in agriculture in the northeastern region (Khon Kaen) and the dramatic improvement in incomes and living environment; (3) the realization of work opportunities for network members in the north (Chiang Mai) through training in ancient-style massage; (4) promotion of further subscription under Article 40 of Thailand’s Social Security Act by informal-sector workers, payment agency services through credit unions, etc.; (5) the need for consultations among core SGRA human resources (practitioners) in the countries concerned; (6) the number of new network members and credit union registration; (7) SGRA PR activities; and (8) project management respecting culture and customs.
The participants then divided into government-labour-management and NGO groups to discuss and make presentations on their “responsibility, role, and commitment in promoting the project in the next fiscal year.” The workshop closed after JILAF Deputy Secretary General had added JILAF’s viewpoints and Director Chamaiporn of the Ministry of Labour’s Labour Protection Bureau had given a summary of the proceedings.

Schedule

DateContents
01/21Wed3rd meeting of the Central Promotion Committee
01/22ThuNational workshop

Photos of Participants

Opening address by Director Peeraphat of the Office of the Secretary in the Ministry of Labour’s Department of Labour Protection and Welfare

Venue of the national workshop

Activity report by the Chiang Mai Working Committee

Activity report by the Khon Kaen Working Committee

Question by a participant from Laos

Presentation on activities in the next fiscal year by a representative of employers