VGCL/JILAF Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Vietnam

Participants in the Hai Phong seminar

JILAF, together with the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), held industrial relations and labour policy seminars in the two cities of Hai Phong and Can Tho during the period of January 8 to 14. Each seminar was attended by 50 persons from the VGCL and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), giving a total of 100 participants altogether. Both of these cities are large in terms of their economic scale. In particular, many Japanese companies and businesses are already operating in Hai Phong, and many are expected to move into Can Tho in the future too. Although Japan and Vietnam have different social systems and trade union operations, it was deemed necessary to share information about issues relating mainly to organizational expansion and strengthening. Representatives of trade unions in Japanese companies also attended the seminars, the main theme of which was the building of constructive industrial relations.

In the seminars, JILAF delivered lectures on the bottom-up approach, which the VGCL also advocates in its campaign policy. In lectures titled “Our Basic Thinking on Labour and Industrial Relations: The Bottom-Up Approach from Japan’s Experience,” JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo gave an overview mainly of the role and organizational structure of Japanese trade unions for the building of constructive industrial relations.

In group discussions as well, there was much talk about the bottom-up approach, and many questions were asked about such matters as the thinking and behavior of trade union leaders for the building of trustworthy relations between labour and management. In addition, in activity reports, it was pointed out that because persons in charge of labour affairs on the management side do not properly report workplace issues to senior management in their companies, conditions do not improve at all and workplace negotiations are simply repeated over and over again.

In the seminar wrap-up, which took place together with comments on the discussions, JILAF President Nagumo stated, “Trade union formation is not the end of the process. It is important to foster people who can lead unions. And in order to find ways of solving problems, it is necessary for union leaders to share information on the current issues that they face. If trusted leaders steer unions, they will gain trust not only from the company but also from the community and society.”

Closing the seminars, a VGCL representative also commented, “We have learned much from Japan about the bottom-up approach. Even though they agree to the formation of unions, there are many employers who then express opposition to the union’s activities. So the VGCL headquarters must provide backup by, for example, promoting the establishment of a legislative system and creating a setup to foster union leaders. At the same time, rather than having the attitude that they are only doing the job because they have been chosen by the company, we want to see union leaders who make their unions function properly in practice in consideration of the interests of union members and the state of the company.”


12/04SunIndustrial relations and labour policy seminar in Hai Phong
12/07WedIndustrial relations and labour policy seminar in Can Tho

Photos of the Participants

Opening addresses were made by JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo and VGCL Vice-President Mai Duc Chinh.

Lecture by JILAF President Nagumo

Group discussions