15th Youth Leadership Course (Multinational Seminar)
Between January 23 and January 27, the 15th Youth Leadership Course was held in Singapore in cooperation with the International Trade Union Confederation – Asia Pacific (ITUC-AP) and the Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute (OTCi). A total of twenty nine people participated in this seminar.
To start off, JILAF President Yasunobu Aihara and ITUC-AP General Secretary Masaya Yoshida made some remarks to welcome the participants from each country. Following this, General Secretary Yoshida gave a lecture titled “A New Social Contract for Reconstruction: Five Demands and Actions of Trade Unions,” in which he stated, “We workers must not silently accept or follow the policies decided by the government. We must actively participate in policy-making, especially on issues that directly affect the work and lives of workers.” He also explained, “In order to achieve social justice, we as ITUC-AP will promote activities centered on five areas: (1) employment, (2) rights, (3) social protection, (4) equality, and (5) inclusivity. It is important for us to mobilise the power of workers, make social dialogue work, and cooperate with various stakeholders in society.”
Furthermore, JILAF carried out a session that centered on four lectures titled (1) “International Labour Movement: Why We Need an International Labour Movement Now”; 2) “Trade Unions and Industrial Relations: What are Industrial Relations?”; (3) “Trade Unions and Industrial Relations: Business and Human Rights”; and (4) “Trade Unions and Industrial Relations: Improving the Workplace Environment.”
During the session, President Aihara gave the first lecture (“International Labour Movement: Why We Need an International Labour Movement Now”), in which he encouraged participants by stating, “Having gone through the COVID-19 pandemic, I feel that countries and people are standing on the same starting line. The important thing is figuring out how we can make good use of the three years spent on COVID-19. Now is the time for all working people to think about the interests of others, work together to maximise the public interest, and achieve global citizenship. An international labour movement would be an essential stage for us to do so.”
In addition, through ITUC’s case study, group discussion, presentation, role-play and other activities on specific approaches to organisation as means of “mobilising the power of workers,” participants shared information about practical methods while raising the doubts and concerns they felt during their daily activities. Along with this, during the exchange with the young leaders of Singapore’s National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), a number of matters were presented, including the NTUC activity of organising taxi drivers and food delivery workers (association), and the youth initiative of establishing consultation methods such as a mentor system.
In the session on “Trade Union Organisations and Youth in War-Ravaged Regions,” Ukraine’s FTUU, Afghanistan’s NUAWE, and Myanmar’s CTUM explained the situation of their countries through online conferencing. During this, Ivan Khrapko from Ukraine spoke about the state of activities amidst a situation where union buildings have collapsed, stating “We cannot ensure the health and safety of our people. One of the serious challenges we face is that the prolonged situation is depriving children and young people of their educational opportunities.”
In the OTCi session, participants worked to “build a strong leadership” by using their mobile phones to scan a QR code with information on leadership, conducting a behavioral self-assessment (DISC assessment) based on emotions and behavioral theory, analyzing the results, then dividing into groups according to the results, and carrying out discussions, presentations, and other various activities.
At the end, ITUC-AP General Secretary Yoshida closed the seminar by expressing, “It is you who will shape the labour movement in the future. We hope that you will use the knowledge gained from this course to strengthen your solidarity with colleagues around the world.”