JILAF invited a total of 12 persons (of whom 6 were women) from five countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico) to visit Japan from July 8 to 21.
Of the participating countries, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico were going through an important period of presidential elections, so it can be said that the program was especially significant for the national centers of these three countries, giving them an opportunity to learn about Japan’s constructive industrial relations and promoting a free and democratic labour movement. Furthermore, since women accounted for half of the team’s members, active questions about the rights of women and the participation of women were noticeable at places visited. In view of the labour situation in their own countries, the participants also showed a wide-ranging interest in such issues as labour legislation, social security, and the relationship between trade unions and politics, asking many questions and stating their opinions on these topics.
After keynote lectures on labour relations, in which they learned about industrial relations and labour practices in Japan, the participants visited an industrial federation (Jidosha Soren [Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers’ Unions]) and also took part in a regional program organized by the Hyogo branch of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), in which they visited Sanyo Special Steel Co., Ltd., Hello Work Kobe, the Hyogo Prefectural Government Office, and the Hyogo Promotion Headquarters of Zenrosai (National Federation of Workers’ and Consumers’ Insurance Cooperatives).
In the Exchange of Views on Labour Situation meeting, the participants were required to report on the labour situation and issues faced by the national centers and industrial trade unions in their countries. The participants from Brazil spoke about adverse labour law reform and the unified action of trade unions to address unstable employment; the participants from Argentina about deterioration of the labour environment due to economic policy reform and the promotion of social dialogue; the participants from Colombia about infringements on trade union activities and the declining organization rate; and the participants from Chile and Mexico about protecting the rights of dispatch and informal-sector workers and efforts toward the realization of a fair social security system.
On the final day, bringing the two-week program to a successful close, the participants compiled and presented ambitious action plans that included references to Japan’s industrial relations, labour-management practices, and labour legislation.
Comments by the participants included the following:
(1) “I want to consider the introduction of a labour-management consultation system and develop a labour movement that young people find interesting. I also want to encourage unified action in industrial federations and thereby expand membership.” (Brazil, Mexico)
(2) “After returning home, I want to hold a meeting to report on the constructive industrial relations that I have learned about in Japan.” (Colombia)
(3) “I will develop a labour movement targeting informal-sector workers as well.” (Chile)
(4) “I would like to launch a labour consultation service like that run by RENGO.” (Argentina)
|■||Jidosha Soren||■||Sanyo Special Steel Co., Ltd. (labour and management)|
|■||Hello Work Kobe||■||Hyogo Prefectural Government Office|
|■||RENGO Hyogo||■||Hyogo Promotion Headquarters of Zenrosai|
Many thanks to everyone.