CTUM/JILAF Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Myanmar

Group photo

 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 26–27 with the participation of 89 people (of whom 59 were women), including government officials and representatives of employers. The seminar provided basic knowledge about industrial relations, with discussions focusing on the prevention of industrial disputes through the building of constructive industrial relations.

 As well as JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo 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 head of the Myingyan Industrial Zone employers’ committee, and the Japanese Embassy in Myanmar, who all expressed their expectations of the seminar.

 In the seminar itself, a JILAF speaker kicked off with a lecture titled “Japan’s Experience: Our Basic Thinking about Labour and Industrial Relations,” which focused on (1) present conditions and issues of the Japanese labour situation, (2) labour legislation supporting constructive industrial relations, and (3) the aims and role of trade unions. The participants asked questions about such topics as the current state of regular and nonregular workers in Japan, the response of Japanese trade unions to unfair dismissal, the present state of employers’ organizations in Japan, and postretirement security, to which pertinent replies were given.

 Next, the deputy head of the Bureau of Labour Standards at Myanmar’s Ministry of Labour, Employment, and Social Security explained the role of the bureau and the content of related labour legislation, after which lectures were given by Mr. Jared Nathan Bissinger of the Myanmar Office of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on the present state and issues of the minimum wage in Myanmar and by the CTUM’s director of financial affairs on the present state of employment contracts (in which he noted that since the change of government, labour contracts tended to work in favor of employers). The participants stated their opinions about such matters as the distressing situation in which labour laws and regulations are not being observed due to a lack of understanding on the part of employers.

 On the second day, CTUM Vice-President Ronnie Than Lwin gave a lecture on core labour standards, focusing on ILO conventions No. 87 and 98. He emphasized the importance of collective bargaining and the conclusion of labour agreements and said that the establishment of labour legislation based on tripartite consultations between the government, labour, and management was essential. The participants shared information about strikes and unreasonable labour acts and stressed the importance of the establishment of laws and regulations and compliance by the government and employers.

 Next, the head of the Department for the Promotion of Sustainability at H&M, a clothing brand, gave a lecture titled “The Realization of Decent Work through the Corporate Code of Conduct (The Setting of a Code of Conduct and Regulations for Production Partners/Suppliers and Compliance).” This talk was followed by a panel discussion titled “The Present State of Industrial Disputes and Issues: Toward Constructive Industrial Relations” by representatives of the government, labour, and management, who explained the issues and responses from their respective standpoints.

 Finally, group discussions and presentations were held on the role of trade unions in the prevention of industrial disputes through the building of constructive industrial relations, issues faced by trade unions in organization expansion and strengthening, and the required labour agreements. The participants stated their opinions and requests concerning many issues, including the importance of strengthening the foundations of trade unions, the setting up of workplace mediation committees, the establishment of labour legislation through tripartite consultations, and the creation of a mechanism for compliance. JILAF commented on the situation in Japan and gave examples.

 In the closing ceremony, addresses were given by JILAF and representatives of the government, labour, and management in Myanmar. Among them, CTUM President Maung commented, “Industrial relations differ in each country, but the kind of confrontational industrial relations seen in the United States and Australia are not suitable for Myanmar today. I hope that the government, labour, and management will cooperate and develop activities toward the building of constructive industrial relations based on dialogue.”


11/26SatSeminar day 1
11/27SunSeminar day 2

Photos of the Participants

Opening ceremony

Lecture by JILAF President Nagumo

A government participant asks a question.

Panel discussion by representatives of government, labour, and management

Group discussions

Presentation by participants