CTUM/JILAF Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Myanmar

Group photo of seminar participants

JILAF, together with the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM), held a two-day industrial relations and labour policy seminar in the Hlaingtharyar Industrial Zone on the outskirts of Yangon on November 16 and 17. The seminar was attended by a total of 104 persons, including representatives of Myanmar’s government, employers, and labour; it was also covered by 11 people from the media in Myanmar.

On the first day of the seminar, speaking on behalf of the organizers, CTUM President Maung Maung delivered an opening address, and then JILAF Deputy Secretary General Kenji Niizuma outlined the purpose and objectives of the seminar. Addresses followed from Second Secretary Yuta Isozaki of the Japanese Embassy in Myanmar, Deputy Director General Tin Ko Ko Naing of the Department of Labour Relations at Myanmar’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, and Population, and Joint Secretary Daw Khine Khin New of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).

In particular, speaking on behalf of the Japanese government, Second Secretary Isozaki expressed his delight that representatives of the government, labour, and management in Myanmar were gathered together under the same roof and his gratitude that connections between trade unions were functioning as a deep bond between Japan and Myanmar. He strongly urged the participants, through this seminar, to build constructive industrial relations that were fitting for Myanmar.

In the first lecture, JILAF Deputy Secretary General Niizuma shared information on the current labour situation and issues in Japan, the legislative system supporting Japan’s constructive industrial relations, and the objectives and role of trade unions. JILAF’s Field Project Group Program Manager Daisuke Yoshino then introduced specific examples of labour-management consultations. The participants asked about such issues as what specifically labour and management should do to improve productivity. JILAF Deputy Secretary General Niizuma gave thorough replies, thereby gaining the participants’ understanding and empathy.

Next, Director Myint Kywe of the Yangon District Labour Protection Bureau, speaking about industrial relations in the Yangon district, introduced the results of individual and collective industrial disputes as means of resolving industrial disputes and emphasized that for constructive industrial relations, it is necessary for labour and management to show mutual respect. The participants asked questions mainly about individual industrial disputes, which are on the rise, and Director Myint Kywe gave pertinent replies. After that, speaking on behalf of employers, Mr. Tun Tun, an executive director at the UMFCCI, introduced employment opportunities and the current state of Myanmar’s sewing industry and, citing such potential growth factors as Myanmar’s labour population, emphasized that constructive industrial relations would lead to the further improvement of productivity.

On the second day, with CTUM Assistant General Secretary Phyo Sandar Soe serving as moderator, representatives of workers, the government, and employers gave presentations on what had been learned on the previous day, and JILAF Deputy Secretary General Niizuma offered a supplementary explanation, thereby confirming the overall message of the seminar and deepening understanding. In light of those statements, the participants then discussed the current state and frontline issues of labour in Myanmar and agreed on the importance of promoting communication and dialogue between labour and management in order to build constructive industrial relations.

As the labour representative, Mr. Yeti, a member of the Executive Committee of the Building and Wood Workers’ Federation of Myanmar (BWFM), reported on working environment improvements, noting the differences in working environment (holidays, health and welfare, etc.) between workplaces with trade unions and those without.

In the plenary discussion that followed, the participants shared their opinions on (1) the importance of equal dialogue on the tripartite (government, labour, management) and bipartite (labour and management) levels, (2) the realization of constructive labour-management dialogue through labour-management consultations and workplace coordinate committees (WCCs), and (3) to solve labour-management disputes in the workplace, the promotion of mutual understanding between labour and management through the improvement of communication in consideration of each side’s standpoint. After pertinent comments and advice from the labour, management, and government representatives, as well as JILAF and the CTUM, CTUM Assistant General Secretary Sandar wrapped up the discussion.

In the closing ceremony, JILAF Deputy Secretary General Niizuma expressed his gratitude for the cooperation of the seminar participants and encouraged trade union members themselves to act with responsibility. Finally, the seminar closed with the head of the CTUM’s education department expressing gratitude to the Japanese government and JILAF for the success of the seminar and the hope that preparations would be made to enable an even better government-labour-management session in the next fiscal year.


11/16FriSeminar day 1
11/17SatSeminar day 2

Photos of the Participants

Opening ceremony address by CTUM President Maung Maung

Address by Second Secretary Isozaki of the Japanese Embassy in Myanmar

JILAF lecture by Deputy Secretary General Niizuma

Scene of the seminar

Group work

Group presentation