Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Laos

Group photo

JILAF and the Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU) jointly held a two-day industrial relations and labour policy seminar in the Lao capital of Vientiane on July 5–6. The seminar was attended by about 60 people, including LFTU officials, representatives from the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), and three officials from unions in Japanese companies operating in Laos.
At the start, JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo and LFTU Vice-President Simoun Ounlasy welcomed the participants and spoke about the purpose and objectives of the seminar. Then Assistant Administrative Vice-Minister ????? ????? of the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and LNCCI Vice-President Saman Aneka, representing employers, gave addresses in which they expressed their expectations of the seminar and the importance of constructive industrial relations.
After these opening addresses, a speaker from JILAF gave a lecture titled “Economic and Social Development and the Social Role of the Labour Movement,” raising such issues as changes in Asia brought about by globalization and the role that the labour movement and labour leaders should play toward improving the lives of the people. In response, the participants gave their views and asked questions about such topics as (1) industrial relations and labour-management practices in Japan, (2) the efforts of labour and management to improve health and welfare and realize a work-life balance in Japanese textile companies, and (3) the understanding of financial statements through the labour-management consultation system (management council) and the method of determining minimum wages.
In a lecture titled “The Role of Trade Unions toward Inauguration of the ASEAN Economic Community,” the next speaker gave an outline of the ASEAN Economic Community and the possible negative impact on workers, raising such potential issues as (1) an increase in the number of informal-sector workers, (2) an increased tendency to neglect industrial relations and labour-management dialogue as a result of the entry of overseas investment, and (3) the widening of income and opportunity gaps. Among other things, the speaker emphasized the importance of organization.
On the second day the participants divided into four groups for group discussions and then presentations on “employment stability through the building of constructive industrial relations” and “efforts to protect workers in a global economy.” The presentations included proposals to (1) foster relations of trust between labour and management and build constructive industrial relations through contributions to productivity improvement, (2) promote vocational training for workers and create added-value products and services, and (3) organize and protect informal-sector workers.
Finally, the two-day seminar came to a close with JILAF President Nagumo emphasizing the building of trustworthy relations with union members (“The workplace is the starting point.”), the strengthening of organization, improvement of the qualities of ambitious individuals, and development of a movement with a view to the next generation.
The seminar was reported in several media, including the English-language Vientiane Times newspaper.


07/05TueIndustrial relations and labour policy seminar day 1
07/06WedIndustrial relations and labour policy seminar day 2

Photos of the Participants

Opening ceremony

Address by JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo

Scene of the seminar

A Japanese company union official asks a question.

Compilation of action plans

Presentation of action plans