JILAF invited 11 trade union leaders (including 7 women) from seven countries (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan) to visit Japan from July 5 to 18, 2015.
During the 14-day program the participants broadened their knowledge about industrial relations and the labour situation in general in Japan through labour-related lectures at JILAF, visits to the headquarters of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), Kikan Roren (Japan Federation of Basic Industry Workers’ Unions), the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, and the Japan Productivity Center, and the regional program, which included visits to RENGO Tottori and other places in Tottori Prefecture. The participants mainly showed interest in issues related to young people and women and engaged in lively question-and-answer sessions and discussions.
In the first half of the program the participants listened to lectures on raising problem awareness as trade union leaders, the role of Japanese trade unions and issues, and Japan’s social and labour legislation. In the visit to the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, they heard about the ministry’s organization and related policies and asked many questions about employment policies for women and new graduates, which showed their high level of interest in these issues.
In the visits to RENGO and an industrial federation (Kikan Roren cooperated this time), the participants were able to deepen their understanding of activities for the realization of policies (social security, industrial health and safety) and their organizational structures. The question-and-answer sessions and discussions focused on such topics as relations between the central and regional organizations, youth activities, organization expansion policy, mutual-aid schemes of the industrial federation, and measures to develop human resources.
In the regional program the participants visited Tottori Prefecture for two days. Their itinerary included visits to RENGO Tottori, Hello Work Tottori, the Employment and Human Resources Bureau of the Tottori prefectural government, and Daisen Dairy and Agricultural Cooperative (a dairy produce plant). At each place visited, as well as an introduction of business and activities, discussions centered on such topics as the participation of women, consultations relating to individual labour disputes, and organization expansion. At the Daisen dairy produce plant in particular, since both labour and management took part in the explanations and discussions, the participants were able to deepen their understanding of daily labour-management relations. They also asked and commented about the relations between the enterprise-based union and the industrial federation and RENGO.
In the final part of the program the participants heard lectures from the Japan Productivity Center and Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) and deepened their awareness of the importance of tripartite and labour-management dialogue based on the three principles of productivity. In both cases, discussions focused on the conduct of multinational companies and the role of trade unions amid advancing globalization. In addition, in a lecture by the National Association of Labour Banks, the participants showed interest in the idea of support for working people and measures to assist the victims of large-scale natural disasters and asked many questions about specific operations, such as screening conditions and the loan process.
After the program ended, the participants made the following comments:
---“On the basis of what I have learned about industrial relations in this program, I am going to campaign to promote the conclusion of agreements by unions affiliated with my organization.”
---“I will aim to promote the introduction of mutual-aid schemes by trade unions in my country.”
---“Through my participation in this program I have realized again the importance of external exchange. I will encourage my organization to invite young leaders from surrounding countries and promote exchange with them.”
---“I was impressed by the management analysis seminars for union leaders being promoted by the industrial federation. I would like to introduce this idea in my organization.”