SGRA Project by the JILAF Thailand Office in Thailand (November)

Participants in the Expanded Working Committee meeting

The JILAF Thailand Office implemented activities relating to the SGRA project (Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network) in Bangkok on November 11–12.

From the perspective of further promoting the strengthening, development, independence, and autonomy of the SGRA project in Thailand, the office organized an Expanded Working Committee seminar attended by 50 participants from the Central, Northern, Northeastern, and Southern Working Committees.

In the seminar, toward the further development of SGRA cooperatives (credit unions), Mr. Shigemi Aoki, head of the Business Administration Division at Japan’s Zenrosai Kyokai (National Association for Workers’ Welfare and Cooperative Insurance), and Mr. Naohiro Tsukamoto, a section chief in Zenrosai Kyokai’s Survey and Research Division, gave lectures on such topics as the history and promotion of workers’ mutual-aid insurance in Japan and management methods.

In addition, discussions were held concerning the specific management of mutual-aid fire insurance, which the SGRA credit union in Khon Kaen in the northeast of Thailand has decided to introduce.

A JILAF speaker delivered a lecture on the history and role of labour banks in Japan.

On the first day, Director Teruhiko Sekiguchi of the JILAF Thailand Office opened the seminar by expressing his gratitude for the all-out daily efforts being made by government, labour, and management and reported on the state of promotion of the project and issues in the current fiscal year.

Next, Secretary Naoya Okamoto of the Japanese Embassy in Thailand explained that the Japanese government is implementing grass-roots activities to improve the livelihoods of informal-sector workers in Thailand and urged the participants to make use of them.

Mr. Aoki of Zenrosai Kyokai then explained about the mutual-aid insurance system being operated by Zenrosai in Japan, and in a lecture titled “Toward Consideration of Mutual Aid,” Mr. Tsukamoto spoke about (1) an outline of Zenrosai, (2) an outline of the mutual-aid insurance system, (3) the implementation setup at the time of Zenrosai’s founding, and (4) the present implementation setup. Also, on the theme of “Toward Implementation of a Mutual-Aid System,” he explained, citing specific examples, about such issues as (1) grounds for calculating the probability of accidents occurring and (2) the mechanism of determining insurance and compensation amounts.

The participants expressed gratitude for the detailed explanations by Zenrosai Kyokai and asked many questions about how Zenrosai responds to administrative matters, such as the ensuring of transparency and the fostering of relations of trust with cooperative members.

JILAF’s lecture on labour banks covered (1) the background to the establishment of labour banks, (2) the present state of labour banks, and (3) relations with international cooperatives. The speaker urged the participants to utilize any aspects of Japan’s 67 years of experience in promoting labour banks that might be useful in the SGRA project.

The participants asked concrete questions about such matters as the strengths and weaknesses of labour banks and the applicable legislative system.

Representatives of the Regional Working Committees then reported on the current state and issues of SGRA credit unions, after which JILAF Thailand Office Director Sekiguchi explained the following activity plans relating to efforts in each region in the current fiscal year and future development: (1) the holding of a job fair on January 7 by the employers’ organization, in collaboration with local companies, to cooperate toward improving the incomes of network members (Chiang Mai); (2) integration of the large number of existing credit unions and building of a system like Japan’s labour banks (Bangkok); (3) efforts to strengthen existing occupational groups under the SGRA credit union (Curry Paste Group, Rubber Fertilizer Group, and Thai Somen Noodle Group) and to establish a new occupational group (Large-scale Agriculture Group) (Surat Thani); and (4) increase of the number of mutual-aid fire insurance members to 200–500 people (Khon Kaen), consideration of the establishment of a fund for support at the time of unfair dismissal (lawsuits, reemployment support) (Home Workers’ Group), and consideration of mutual-aid traffic accident insurance (Bike Drivers’ Group).

Finally, after expressing sincere appreciation for the fact that enthusiastic efforts on a daily basis were achieving results, JILAF ended the EWC seminar by emphasizing the importance for the continued development of the project of (1) the unification of accounting standards and dividend standards and (2) the sharing of principles (with reference to nonprofit organizations and cooperatives).

Schedule

DateContents
11/11SatEWC seminar day one
11/12SunEWC seminar day two

Photos of the Participants

Lecture on mutual-aid insurance

Lecture on the labour bank system

Scene of the venue

Lecture on mutual-aid fire insurance

A participant asks a question.

Lively discussions