Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Myanmar

JILAF, together with the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM), held a two-day industrial relations and labour policy seminar in Yangon, Myanmar, on November 28 and 29. It had been expected that 50 people would attend the seminar, but in the end a total of 104 people turned up, including not only CTUM officials but also representatives of the government and employers.
The main theme of the seminar was “The Role of Trade Unions in an Era of Globalization,” and discussions centered on how to build constructive industrial relations and prevent unnecessary industrial disputes at a time when, because of the entry of foreign capital and corporations, economic growth is progressing rapidly in Asian countries.
As well as a JILAF representative and CTUM President Maung Maung, the opening ceremony was attended by representatives from the Yangon Office of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Myanmar’s Ministry of Labour, Employment, and Social Security, the Hlaingthaya industrial estate employers’ committee, and the Japanese Embassy in Myanmar. They all expressed their expectations of the seminar.
In the seminar itself, a JILAF speaker delivered a lecture titled “Socioeconomic Development and the Social Role of the Labour Movement,” in which he shared information about such issues as (1) worldwide changes brought about by globalization and the position of Asia, (2) environmental changes surrounding workers brought about by globalization and the role of the labour movement and trade unions, and (3) the present economic condition of Asian countries and future outlook. The speaker then said that Japan’s experience in the transformation of industrial relations would be useful in responding to industrial relations, which are becoming increasingly complex together with economic development, and encouraged the participants to make efforts to prevent unnecessary industrial disputes and achieve employment stability by (1) realizing labour-management equality and autonomy based on democratic trade union management and (2) building constructive industrial relations by contributing to productivity improvement. Next, Mr. Teruhiko Sekiguchi, director of JILAF’s office in Thailand, delivered a lecture titled “Establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the Role of Trade Unions,” in which he gave an outline of the AEC and spoke about economic trends in the ASEAN region and the future outlook.
Next, Mr. Soe Naing head of the General Affairs Department at the Ministry of Labour, Employment, and Social Security, spoke about the process of solving industrial disputes, and Secretary General Daw Khine Khine Nwe of the Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry talked about the importance of building constructive industrial relations. Both speakers emphasized that labour-management dialogue is important for the resolution and prevention of industrial disputes and that it is essential for both labour and management to face each other sincerely and build a relationship of trust.
In addition, Director Shigeru Nakajima of the ITUC’s Yangon Office explained core labour standards, including International Labour Organization Conventions No. 87 and 98, and the importance of collective bargaining and the conclusion of labour agreements and stressed that the establishment of labour legislation based on tripartite (government-labour-management) consultations was essential. After his talk, the participants engaged in group discussions and presentations on the prevention of unnecessary industrial disputes and means of resolving industrial disputes that have occurred. Among others, they stated opinions and demands concerning (1) the importance of labour-management dialogue, collective bargaining, and labour agreements, (2) the effectiveness of workplace arbitration committees, (3) the establishment of labour legislation relating to the prevention and resolution of industrial disputes, and (4) the need to establish labour legislation through tripartite consultations.
In the closing ceremony, the two-day seminar was wrapped up by CTUM President Maung Maung and the JILAF representative. CTUM President Maung Maung stated that he hoped for the fostering of union officials and promotion of social dialogue through similar seminars in the future, and the JILAF representative stressed the need to promote further labour-management dialogue and social dialogue and to build constructive industrial relations.


11/28SatSeminar day 1
11/29SunSeminar day 2

Photos of the Participants

Guests from Myanmar’s government, labour, and management, the Japanese Embassy in Myanmar, and the ITUC Yangon Office

Session by JILAF

Q&A session with participants

Session by ITUC Yangon Office Director Nakajima

Group discussions

Group presentations by participants