Eurasia Team

Sharing information about the energy problem and trade union issues at Denryoku Soren

A total of nine persons (of whom three were women) from three countries (Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan) visited Japan from August 19 (Sunday) to September 1 (Saturday).

Since all of the invited countries possess energy resources, such as oil, coal, and natural gas, the participants showed a strong interest in the energy problem in Japan, as well as the efforts of trade unions at the regional and workplace levels. In discussions with Denryoku Soren (Federation of Electric Power Related Industry Workers’ Unions of Japan), RENGO Mie (the Mie Prefecture branch of RENGO [Japanese Trade Union Confederation]), and others, a workplace visit, and other activities, they enthusiastically asked many questions and stated their opinions in search of differences and similarities with their own countries.

After hearing labour-related lectures in which they learned about industrial relations and labour practices in Japan, as their visit to an industrial federation, the participants visited Denryoku Soren. And in the RENGO Mie program, they inspected the Iga Plant of Panasonic Lighting Systems Co., Ltd. and engaged in discussions at Oshigoto Hiroba Mie (Job Plaza Mie), the Department of Employment and Economy of the Mie Prefectural Government, and the Mie Prefecture Council of Workers’ Welfare (Rofukukyo).

In the Exchange of Views on Labour Situation meeting, the invited participants were asked to report on the labour situation and issues facing the national centers and industrial federations in their own countries. The participants from Kazakhstan reported on labour law revisions, violations of the basic rights of workers, and efforts of the national center; the participants from Ukraine on the problem of unpaid wages and on-site health and safety issues, especially for coalmine workers; and the participants from Uzbekistan on the problems of informal-sector workers and social security.

On the final day, in a session devoted to the compilation of action plans, the participants presented ambitious action plans that referred to Japanese industrial relations, labour practices, labour legislation, and so on. The two-week program ended without incident.
Participants made the following comments:
(1) “The program consisted of both theoretical and practical elements, and I was able to systematically learn about Japan’s industrial relations and other topics. I am now involved in compiling a trade union handbook at our national center, and I would like to include the contents of the JILAF program.” (Kazakhstan)

(2) “I would like to build cooperative relations with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other employers’ organizations. In this program, I learned about the importance of social dialogue with a variety of stakeholders.” (Ukraine)

(3) “I was impressed by the fact that at the production site of Panasonic Lighting Systems, the plant manager was wearing the same uniform as the workers. I want to tell the president of my coalmine company about the importance of engaging with workers on the same level.” (Ukraine)

(4) “I want to report on what I have learned at JILAF at study meetings of my own trade union and regional organization and also share my experience in the union newspaper and other channels.” (Uzbekistan)

List of Cooperating Organizations

Denryoku SorenIga Plant of Panasonic Lighting Systems Co., Ltd.
Oshigoto Hiroba MieDepartment of Employment and Economy, Mie Prefectural Government
RENGO MieMie Prefecture Council of Workers’ Welfare
National Association of Labour Banks

Many thanks to everyone.

Photos of the Participants

Inspecting a Japanese manufacturing site (Iga Plant, Panasonic Lighting Systems Co., Ltd.)

Reporting on labour problems and trade union activities in the participants’ own countries (Exchange of Views on Labour Situation meeting)

Group photo on the final day of participants holding their certificates of completion of program