The JILAF Thailand Office implemented activities relating to the SGRA project (Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network) in Champasak, Laos, on November 27–28.
On November 27 a seminar was held toward the establishment of an SGRA cooperative for 20 existing network members (coffee farmers) in Champasak.
Director General Ounkam Bounyaseing of the Labour Protection Department at the Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU) explained the importance of mutual aid and know-how, and Director Teruhiko Sekiguchi of the JILAF Thailand Office shared information on mutual-aid insurance for workers in Japan. Discussions were also held toward the stable mass production of high-grade coffee.
On the following day, November 28, a Life Support Seminar was held for 60 new network members (human trafficking victims, etc.) and their family members in Champasak, at which information was provided on social safety nets available to informal-sector workers and know-how for improving household budgets.
The Champasak Working Committee (comprising representatives of local government, labour, and management) gave an explanation of the importance of mutual-aid insurance, the merits and demerits (risks and dangers) of migrant work, and other issues. In addition, against the background of the large number of this region’s workers going elsewhere to find work, a questioning of the participants revealed that, among other things, (1) work and occupational opportunities are extremely limited in the region, (2) they lack the funds required to set up businesses, and (3) there is no market.
The village in Champasak Province where the seminar was held has a total population of 506 people and a working population of 270 people, of whom 70 have experience of illegal migrant labour in Thailand. (At present, 50 of them have returned to the village and 20 are still in Thailand.)
|11/27||Mon||Mutual-aid seminar for existing network members (Coffee Farmers’ Group)|
|11/28||Tue||Life Support Seminar for new network members (human trafficking victims, etc.)|