Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Thailand

JILAF held a two-day industrial relations and labour policy seminar in Bangkok on July 18–19 together with the Thai Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-TC). The seminar, which was held under consignment from the Japanese government (Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare), was attended by about 40 people, including officials from the four national centers under the ITUC-TC and main industrial unions (Japanese company unions), as well as representatives from the Thai Ministry of Labour and the Employers’ Confederation of Thailand (ECOT).
At the beginning of the seminar, speaking on behalf of the organizers, JILAF Deputy General Secretary Ryo Saito explained the purpose and objectives of the seminar, after which addresses were given by Mr. Manop, acting general secretary of the ITUC (vice general secretary of the State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation [SERC]); Mr. Varanon Peetiwan, Deputy Director-General in the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare at the Thai Ministry of Labour; Mr. Siriwan Romchattong, secretary general of ECOT; and First Secretary Hironori Tsuboi and Second Secretary Daisuke Yoshino of the Japanese Embassy in Thailand. These guests expressed their hopes for the seminar and emphasized the importance of building constructive industrial relations.
JILAF Deputy General Secretary Saito then delivered a lecture titled “Socioeconomic Development and the Social Role of the Labour Movement,” in which he raised issues from various perspectives, including (1) changes in Asia brought about by globalization and the position of Thailand (a core country in a huge potential economic bloc embracing India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, as well as the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations); (2) the response to globalization identifying the essence of surrounding environmental changes and the direction that should be followed in the future; (3) the loss of uniformity and expansion of disparities in an environment mixing premodern, modern, and contemporary societies and the role of trade unions; (4) the responsibility of the labour movement and leaders to achieve economic and social development and improve national life; (5) the transformation of industrial relations in Japan and the building of constructive industrial relations to prevent meaningless industrial disputes; and (6) the upgrading of labour and fair distribution of corporate (growth) results.
Next, Professor Sakdina of Thammasat University delivered a lecture titled “Globalization and the Role of the Thai Labour Movement,” in which, speaking from an academic standpoint, he analyzed the current political situation in Thailand (saying that it was essential to break away from the routine of coups and military regimes) and noted issues of concern relating to the liberalization of agricultural trade and gradual liberalization in nine priority areas following the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (the difficulty that Thai workers will face in finding jobs, the lowering of wages, the widening of economic and opportunity gaps, and expansion of the nonregular economy).
On the second day, Mr. Teruhiko Sekiguchi, director of JILAF’s office in Thailand, gave briefings on “Inauguration of the AEC and the Role of Trade Unions” and “Toward the Building of Constructive Industrial Relations through Solidarity of the Thai Labour Movement,” after which the participants divided into two groups transcending national center and industrial federation affiliation for group discussions followed by the compilation and presentation of action plans.
The presentations by the participants included proposals for (1) a five-year plan to merge the national centers into a single organization and the compilation of a trade union solidarity manual, (2) the establishment of a solidarity council comprising the leaders of the four national centers, three industrial federations, and others, (3) the organization of informal-sector workers and a campaign to gain the sympathy of society, and (4) the fostering of trustworthy relations between labour and management through contributions to productivity improvement and the building of constructive industrial relations.
JILAF’s Deputy General Secretary Saito and Director Sekiguchi added their comments on behalf of JILAF and closed the seminar with a strong call for the steady implementation of the activity plan.

Schedule

DateContents
07/18SatSeminar day 1
07/19SunSeminar day 2

Photos of Participants

Address by JILAF Deputy General Secretary Saito

Comment by ECOT

Group discussions