INTUC/HMS Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in India

Group photo at the seminar

JILAF, together with the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS; Indian Labour Association), held an industrial relations and labour policy seminar in the Indian city of Chennai on May 29–30. The seminar was attended by about 50 persons.

At the beginning of the seminar, addresses were given by HMS President C. A. Rajasridhar, INTUC Tamil Nadu State Branch President N. Devarajan, Deputy Consul-General Hiroko Taniguchi of the Japanese Consulate General in Chennai, and JILAF Counselor Koichi Oyama, after which JILAF, the INTUC, and HMS explained their understanding of the present state and issues of industrial relations in the two countries and the latest situation concerning changing labour legislation in Japan and India.

Regarding Japan’s constructive industrial relations, JILAF Counselor Oyama delivered a lecture titled “The Role of Trade Unions in Building the Next Development Stage,” in which he comprehensively explained the history, organizational structure, and activities of Japanese trade unions (spring labour struggle, labour-management consultations, etc.), as well as their demands to the government and employers toward the realization of policies. In response, the participants asked many questions about such matters as composition of the Labour Policy Council, the role of the government, the difference between collective bargaining and labour-management consultations, the content of policy proposals and the degree of their reflection in actual policies, and the response of trade unions to the aging society, including mandatory retirement. The JILAF side replied by explaining cases and responses in Japan.

Next, Vice-President S. Krishnamorthy of Brakes India Private Ltd., the largest automobile brake manufacturer in India, introduced the good example of industrial relations in his own company, emphasizing the importance of building adequate communication between labour and management and fostering mutual understanding. He also stressed the need to nurture trade union officials with leadership qualities.

JILAF Counselor Oyama then gave a lecture titled “Outline of Labour Legislation in Japan,” in which he explained mainly about Japan’s Trade Union Act and Labour Standards Act, giving an overview of such issues as the conditions for establishing a trade union, the definition of a trade union, the activities of trade unions, the industrial dispute resolution system, working hours, and dismissal.

As a lecture by a well-informed speaker, Ms. Ramapriya Gopalakrishnan, a lawyer, gave a talk titled “The Revision of Labour Law in India and Its Impact on Workers,” in which she explained about the transformation of labour legislation in India and labour code amendments currently taking place and noted matters that workers should bear in mind or be concerned about. In response, the participants asked about such issues as the differences in legislation between the central and state governments. Ms. Gopalakrishnan replied by explaining the present situation.

On the second day, the participants divided into six groups and engaged in group discussions and presentations. Lively discussions took place, and the presentations touched on such issues as understanding of the labour movement and the transmission of information to employers; the importance of education, including legislation, within trade unions; the need to improve working conditions and to expand and establish rules on employee welfare; the active participation of female employees in trade union activities; the training of trade union leaders and improvement by executive committee members themselves of their knowledge of related legislation; and strengthening of the approach to young and female workers in the workplace. In response, JILAF Counselor Oyama made comments about the presentations, once again mentioning the raison d’etre of trade unions and equal relations with employers.

After all the presentations and discussions, HMS President Rajasridhar delivered a special lecture in which he praised the long-lasting friendly and cooperative relations with RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) and JILAF and went on, “Understanding of education is lacking in India. Through this seminar, mutual understanding has progressed not only among trade unionists themselves but also between employers and trade unions. I hope that as a result you will go back to your workplaces and talk with members there about what sort of industrial relations should be built.”

In response, in closing remarks wrapping up the seminar, JILAF Counselor Oyama said, “I hope you will cherish the network that you have cultivated in this seminar, share your workplace concerns and other information, and utilize what you have learned in your future activities.”


05/29TueSeminar day 1
05/30WedSeminar day 2

Photos of the Participants

Lecture by JILAF Counselor Oyama

Opening address by INTUC Tamil Nadu State Branch President Devarajan

Lecture by Ms. Gopalakrishnan

Group discussions

Presentation of the results of group discussions

Special lecture by HMS President Rajasridhar