JILAF and the Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) jointly held a multinational seminar in the Thai capital of Bangkok for five days from August 22 to 26 on the main theme of “Globalization, Economic Integration, and the Role of Trade Unions: Toward Employment Stability, the Prevention of Meaningless Industrial Disputes, Etc. through the Building of Constructive Industrial Relations.” The seminar was attended by 22 midlevel trade union leaders (including 9 women) from countries in the Asia-Pacific region (Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, and Vietnam).
At the beginning of the seminar, Deputy Regional Director David Lamotte gave an opening address on behalf of the organizers, and JILAF Assistant Secretary General Ryo Saito explained the purpose and objectives of the seminar. Assistant Secretary General Saito then delivered a lecture titled “Development of the Global Economy and the Social Role of the Labour Movement,” in which he explained about such issues as (1) worldwide changes brought about by globalization and the position of Asia; (2) changes and developments involving workers in an age of globalization; and (3) the responsibilities and roles of trade union leaders. The participants asked questions about such issues as the role of trade unions in the correction of expanding economic, educational, and opportunity inequalities; the permeation of Japanese-style constructive industrial relations in Asia; trends in Japanese companies and plants overseas; and the involvement of trade unions in free trade agreements.
On the following day there was a session on the theme of “Constructive Industrial Relations in Japan and the Prevention of Meaningless Industrial Disputes,” in which the importance was explained of achieving a balance between cooperation through labour-management consultations and confrontation through collective bargaining. Many participants commented that such an approach would be beneficial at a time when industrial relations were becoming increasingly complex as a result of globalization. Discussions and questions also focused on collective bargaining rights in the workplace; the segregation of acquiring a fair distribution of profits and building cooperative industrial relations; the effectiveness of the Labour Policy Council; and restrictions on the basic rights of workers.
Lectures were also given by Ms. Hilda Sanchez Martinez, senior specialist in workers’ activities at the ILO Headquarters, and Mr. Ariel Castro, an expert at the ILO Turin Training Center. Regarding the importance of a social dialogue among government, labour, and management, Ms. Martinez pointed out that because trade unions were not involved in negotiations on economic integration or the conclusion of free trade agreements, the content of such agreements was often disadvantageous to workers. Mr. Castro, meanwhile, spoke about such topics as the ILO’s efforts to include labour clauses in free trade agreements, the interpretation of labour clauses in free trade agreements, and the trends of multinational companies and the role of trade unions. The participants reconfirmed the increasing importance of the labour movement’s role.
|08/23||Tue||Seminar day 1|
|08/25||Thu||Seminar day 2|
|08/27||Sat||Seminar day 3|