JILAF invited a total of 11 persons (including 4 women) from the Middle East and Northern Africa to visit Japan from November 6 to 19. The participants came from the General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA), the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU), the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU), the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions (GFJTU), the Moroccan Federation of Labour (UMT), the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), and the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT).
In the labour-related lectures, the participants learned about the Japanese labour movement, including the postwar history of Japanese trade unions and the annual spring labour struggle, as well as about such topics as the minimum wage system, labour legislation, and democratic trade union management. The participants, for whom labour-management confrontation is a premise, showed much interest in Japanese industrial relations and asked many questions.
In their visit to RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), the participants received a lecture on gender equality policy. The women participants were mystified and asked questions about why the ratio of women in the labour force is so low despite the fact that Japan is an advanced country.
In their visit to an industrial federation, the participants visited Zenkoku Gas (Federation of Gas Workers’ Unions of Japan), where they received a lecture on the state of the city gas business and the industrial federation’s activities. The participants deepened their understanding of the role of Zenkoku Gas in the annual spring labour struggle and its efforts toward the realization of industrial policies.
The discussions with RENGO Fukuoka focused on the method of electing executives, the activities of the Youth Committee, and specific activities to promote the activities of female executives. As a workplace visit, the following day the participants went to the Toyota Motor Kyushu Miyata Plant, where, among other activities, they inspected the assembly line. In discussions with the labour union there, they asked questions about such topics as the labour-management consultation committee, collective bargaining, and efforts in the annual spring labour struggle, thereby gaining an understanding, in a practical manner, of the organization of company-based labour unions, which are the base of the Japanese trade union movement, as well as collective bargaining, the labour-management consultation committee, and so on.
The participants also visited Fukuoka Hello Work Central, a public employment office, where they received an explanation of the operation of the employment insurance system and job introduction system in Japan. They then inspected the Young People’s Job Plaza Fukuoka, which houses the government-run Hello Work office and the prefecture-run Young People’s Support Center and 30s Challenge Support Center on one floor. The participants asked questions about such issues as the content of unemployment benefits and the ratio of jobseekers finding work, thus gaining a general view of Japan’s job-support administration.
On the final day the participants gave presentations on what aspects of the training in Japan they wanted to utilize in their activities back home, which included unified negotiations like Japan’s annual spring labour struggle, introduction of the three guiding principles of productivity, and establishment of an organization to manage a mutual-aid system.
|■||Zenkoku Gas||■||RENGO Fukuoka|
|■||Toyota Motor Kyushu||■||Kyushu Association of Labour Banks|
|■||Zenrosai Kyokai (National Association for Workers’ Welfare and Cooperative Insurance)|
Many thanks to everyone.