Reinvitation Team Visits Japan from June 3 (Sunday) to 9 (Saturday)
Report on cases of industrial disputes in Tunisia (Exchange of Views on Labour Situation meeting, June 7)
JILAF invited nine persons (of whom four were women) from the four countries of Algeria, Bahrain, Morocco, and Tunisia to visit Japan from June 3 to 9; all members of the team had visited Japan previously under JILAF’s Invitation Program.
The participants showed an interest in how the situation had changed from the time of their previous visit to Japan to today, and they actively asked questions to speakers and seemed to have a forward-looking attitude toward finding solutions to labour problems faced by their own countries. In particular, they showed surprise at the state of long working hours in Japan and expressed the hope that trade unions would respond toward the reduction of overtime work.
Placing a focus on the prevention of needless industrial disputes, the team visited the Central Labour Relations Commission and RENGO Tokyo, learned about the case of Nissan Roren (Federation of Nissan Labour Unions) and Nissan’s plant-based labour unions, and heard about trends in labour and social legislation, including workstyle reform. There was also an expanded Exchange of Views on Labour Situation meeting titled “The Labour Situation and Industrial Disputes in Middle Eastern and North African Countries.”
The Exchange of Views on Labour Situation meeting was attended by 38 persons, who heard about the latest labour situation in the four invited countries and shared information on the state of industrial disputes, labour-management practices, and other topics. There were reports from Algeria on cases of disputes occurring because employers, against the background of intensifying global economic competition, rejected the wage hike demands of trade unions; from Bahrain on the increasing unemployment rate, specific industrial disputes sparked by the nonpayment of wages, and countermeasures; from Morocco on violations of the freedom of trade union activities and of basic labour rights in multinational corporation, which were becoming more frequent in recent years; and from Tunisia on a case of dispute between a company and investors and a case of dispute in a multinational corporation in the electronics industry.
At the end of the program there was a discussion session on the theme of “Have you been able to utilize your experience in the past invitation program in the labour movement and your activities since then?” The participants’ reports included the following:
---“When my company announced that it was suspending the payment of bonuses and cutting the regular wage hike, our trade union executive committee decided to go on strike. But when I then introduced examples of workers’ rights being acquired in Japan through labour-management consultations, the strike was avoided.”
---“When I put productivity movement activities that I had learned about in Japan into practice, we realized appropriate wage hikes in accordance with the improvement in productivity. In most jobs, wages were increased by about 25%.”
These reports confirmed once again that knowledge of Japan’s industrial relations, labour-management practices, and labour legislation is proving to be useful in the solution of various labour issues in developing countries.
The participants also made the following comments:
(1) “In the Exchange of Views on Labour Situation meeting, following each country’s report about industrial disputes, those attending from universities and trade unions asked many questions relating to the theme, which showed their high level of interest.” (Algeria)
(2) “Industrial relations in Japan are good, with both sides seeming to understand each other as a true partner. I was very impressed by the fact that the company is mindful of the trade union’s interests, and the trade union is mindful of improving productivity in the company.” (Bahrain)
(3) “Japan has built stable industrial relations based on labour-management consultations, but working hours are too long, so it is hard to say that human rights are being protected. Trade unions need to make greater efforts to improve the working environment for workers.” (Morocco)
(4) “Industrial relations in Japan are based in general not on confrontation but on dialogue. On the other hand, though, it seems that employers are applying pressure and obstructing the passage of workstyle reform bills aimed at curbing long working hours, as demanded by trade unions, and the ratification of international labour standards relating to working hours.” (Tunisia)