JILAF/ILO Joint Multinational Seminar-Regional Trade Union Training on the Future of Work: Together with the Building of Constructive Industrial Relations-

Group photo at the multinational seminar

JILAF, together with the Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) of the International Labour Organization (ILO), jointly held a multinational seminar in the Thai capital of Bangkok for five days from September 10 to 14 on the main theme of “Regional Trade Union Training on the Future of Work: Together with the Building of Constructive Industrial Relations .” A total of 24 trade union leaders (of whom 11 were women) participated in the seminar from countries in the Asia-Pacific region (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam).

At the beginning, Mr. Harry Cunningham, ACTRAV program manager at the International Training Center in Turin, delivered an opening address on behalf of the organizers, after which JILAF Executive Director Masayuki Shiota outlined the purpose and objectives of the seminar. First Secretary Kazuma Takago of the Japanese Embassy in Thailand then encouraged the participants to take this opportunity to deepen their understanding of Japan’s constructive industrial relations, which he thought would be an extremely useful reference for them. Finally, Ms. Tomoko Nishimoto, regional director of the ILO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, touched on issues that might exert an impact on future workstyles and expressed the hope that the participants would summate their investigations and discussions in the seminar, take them back home, and utilize them in their future activities.

On the first day of the five-day seminar, September 10, lectures were given by JILAF officials. First, JILAF Executive Director Shiota gave a talk on the issues facing trade unions in Asia and their solution, in which he proposed challenges at the start of the training, sharing his thoughts on (1) worldwide changes brought about by globalization and the current situation in Asia, (2) social aspects being left behind by globalization (including inequalities, employment uncertainty, and industrial relations) and related issues, and (3) the role of trade union leaders (social dialogue, fair distribution, labour-management consultations, etc.), the meaning and responsibility of working, and the role of trade unions in the solution of social issues.

JILAF Program Manager Daisuke Yoshino then led a session on the theme of “Toward the Building of Japanese-Style Constructive Industrial Relations,” in which he emphasized the importance of a balance between cooperation through labour-management consultations and confrontation through collective bargaining. The participants asked questions on such matters as the role of trade unions in controlling inflation; the social protection of informal workers; safety nets, such as health insurance and unemployment insurance; the mechanism of labour-management consultations and labour-management negotiating strategy; and methods of responding to unfair dismissal.

Other sessions included a talk by Mr. Christian Viegelahn, senior labour economist at the ILO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, about the desired form of industrial relations to counter the impact on labour of globalization (including the promotion of free trade) and recent economic development; a talk by Mr. Michael Watt, technical officer at ILO’s ACTRAV, about the desired form of industrial relations to counter the impact on labour of digitalization and automation; a talk by Mr. Mamadou Kaba Souare, communication specialist at the ILO’s ACTRAV, about how trade unions should engage in communication and campaign planning to cope with the future of work; and a talk by Professor Melisa Serrano of the University of the Philippines on state governance relating to nonregular employment and the response of trade unions to the future of work.

There was also a session by General Secretary Shoya Yoshida of the Asia-Pacific Regional Office of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-AP) and ILO ACTRAV Director Maria Helena Andre on the agenda and commitment of trade unions in the future of work. The participants gained a comprehensive understanding of the present state of environmental changes in the field of labour in the Asia-Pacific region and reaffirmed the role of the labour movement, which is increasing in importance in response to changes in the employment environment being brought about by the advance of the fourth industrial revolution and other factors.


09/10MonMultinational Seminar Day 1
09/11TueMultinational Seminar Day 2
09/12WedMultinational Seminar Day 3
09/13ThuMultinational Seminar Day 4
09/14FriMultinational Seminar Day 5

Photos of the Participants

Opening ceremony

JILAF lecture 1

JILAF lecture 2

ILO lecture

Group work

Group presentation