JILAF, together with the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (CITU), held an online industrial relations and labour policy seminar on October 26–27, 2020. A total of 77 people participated.
At the beginning of the seminar, addresses were given by JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo and CITU Secretary General Ramidi, sharing the seminar’s purpose, objective, and so on with the participants.
JILAF Director General Takayuki Yagi then outlined the efforts of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) to improve policies and systems, the tripartite Labour Policy Council, and RENGO’s political activities. In addition, he explained about such topics as the tripartite consultations in Japan based on an equal relationship among the government, labour, and management and the significant social role played by Japanese trade unions. He also shared information with the participants about the Covid-19 situation in Japan, various measures to support the maintenance of employment and continuation of business amid the pandemic, the involvement of trade unions in these efforts, and other issues. The participants asked questions about such matters as the influence of RENGO on the government’s policymaking, Japan’s minimum wage system, the role of the government in councils, and the view of the Japanese side of Indonesia’s omnibus law on job creation, enacted on October 5, 2020. Director General Yagi gave pertinent replies to these questions.
Next, CITU Vice-President Iswan Abdullah explained that trade unions should take action because the omnibus law on job creation included content that was difficult for workers to accept, including (1) a reduction of the retirement allowance, (2) an increased acceptance of foreign workers, (3) a change in the method of calculating the minimum wage, (4) an extended employment period for contract workers, (5) an expansion of outsourcing-applicable businesses, (6) a relaxation of the upper limit on daily overtime, and (7) a relaxation of conditions for dismissal.
In the following panel discussion, Ms. Indrasari Tjandraningsih, a researcher and expert in the labour field, commented, “I think the decline in the social influence of trade unions is also a factor in the background to the passage of this law. Trade unions need to put more energy into comprehensive activities, such as human resource development and strategy building, establish more coordination among the national centers, and change into entities that are widely accepted in society. I fear that trade unions cannot hope to be effective through a policy of strikes alone.”
After again sharing information on Japan’s tripartite setup, JILAF Deputy Secretary General Toshihiro Saito remarked, “I hope that consultations among the government, labour, and management in Indonesia can be resumed after you have clarified the problems in the law, shared them broadly with the public, and got not only trade union members but the general public on your side.” The participants asked questions about such matters as whether there was room for future negotiations with the government and differences in the tripartite consultation mechanisms in Japan and Indonesia, to which pertinent replies were given.
After the panel discussion, the CITU’s public relations department gave a lecture on how social media was one means of publicizing the existence of trade unions and how the effective utilization of social media by the enterprise-based unions to which the participants belonged could lead to the vitalization of union activities, increased awareness of the trade union by trade union members, and also improvement of the organization rate.
Finally, at a time when trade unions in Indonesia are facing extremely difficult challenges, the seminar ended with all participants affirming the enormous significance of having been able to hold it.