English-Speaking Youth Team

The English-Speaking Youth Team visited Japan from June 16 (Sunday) to 29 (Saturday).

Visit to the RENGO Headquarters

A total of 11 people (of whom 4 were women) from five countries (Fiji, India, Nepal, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka) visited from June 16 to 29, completing the whole program according to schedule.

Although this was a youth team, most of the participants had been working for 8–13 years and had reached a skilled level in their workplaces. In all the lectures they engaged in lively discussions and asked questions in English. Furthermore, since the participants came from the same region, they able to deepen their mutual understanding of the labour situation and trade union activities in one another’s countries in a friendly atmosphere.

In their visit to the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, the participants asked questions about such issues as the reasons for the decline in the trade union organization rate, death from overwork, and measures to deal with labour-management problems in the local companies of Japanese enterprises operating overseas.

In their visit to an industrial trade union federation, the participants visited Kokko Rengo (Japan Public Sector Union), where they received a lecture on the organization, its basic campaign philosophy, and its activities. They showed much interest in the industrial federation’s original educational system and efforts to expand the organization and asked many lively questions.

In the regional program, the participants visited the Wakayama Prefecture Council of Workers’ Welfare, RENGO Wakayama, the Hello Work Wakayama public employment security office, and the Nippon Steel Corporation Wakayama Works.

The main action plans proposed by the participants were as follows:
---“I will share what I have learned in this visit in Fiji’s Youth Leader Group and hold a seminar on the 5S and kaizen initiatives.” (Fiji) (The 5S refer to the Japanese words seiri [tidiness], seiton [orderliness, seiso [cleanliness], seiketsu [standardization], and shitsuke [discipline]. Kaizen means the continuous improvement of shop-floor work and is an effective means of raising productivity.)
---“I will take action to raise the ratio of women taking part in union activities. (First of all, two women will participate in union activities, and then these two women will serve as the union’s women’s representatives.)” (India)
---“I want to establish a social security system like the Kokumin Kyosai Coop [National Federation of Workers’ and Consumers’ Kyosai Cooperatives].” (India and Nepal)
---“I want to organize seminars for youth and women based on the knowledge I have gained from the JILAF program.” (Philippines)
---“I want to improve the negotiating skills of trade union executives so as to conclude better labour agreements.” (Philippines)
---“Through organization and publicity activities, I want to promote the trade union membership of 10 young people by the end of 2019 and send the talented among them to educational institutions to foster them as organization leaders (especially well versed in labour law).” (Sri Lanka)
---“I want to organize sports and other events to deepen mutual understanding between labour and management.” (Sri Lanka)

List of Cooperating Organizations

Kokko RengoRENGO Wakayama
Wakayama Public Employment Security Office (Hello Work Wakayama)Wakayama Prefecture Council of Workers’ Welfare
Nippon Steel Corporation Wakayama Works

Many thanks to everyone.

Photos of the Participants

Participants receive an explanation of the activities of an industrial trade union federation. (Kokko Rengo)

Job vacancy search by computer (Hello Work Wakayama)

Workplace inspection to learn about the workplace environment in Japan (Nippon Steel Corporation Wakayama Works)