JILAF invited a total of 12 people from Mongolia and Pakistan, 6 from the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions (CMTU) and 6 from the Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF), to visit Japan from August 31 to September 13.
Mongolia’s economy and society have undergone significant changes as a result of development of the market economy since the 1990s, economic assistance from major developed nations and international organizations, and other factors, and in recent years the country has been registering economic growth of more than 10%. On the flip side, however, the gap between rich and poor has been widening due to price increases. In Pakistan, meanwhile, despite the transition from the regime of General Pervez Musharraf to a democratic government in 2007, low growth has been continuing in recent years due to such factors as the stagnation of economic reform, electricity shortages, and lack of infrastructure, and the political situation is unstable. In addition, although a law incorporating the protection of workers has been enacted, in reality it is not being observed.
Mongolia, situated in East Asia, and Pakistan, situated in South Asia, have different cultures, histories, and styles of labour movement, but as Asian nations they do share certain challenges and efforts.
In the labour-related lectures, the participants showed much interest in such topics as the method of policy formulation and procedures in Japan’s annual spring labour struggle; the various differences between public-sector and private-sector unions, including their approaches to the spring labour struggle; the method of selecting public-interest representatives for tripartite councils and their role; and the method of concluding labour agreements. Furthermore, since the organization of young workers is not progressing in these two countries either and their unionization ratios are not improving, the participants also displayed an interest in ways of organizing workers.
In the lecture by an industrial federation, the participants heard from Joho Roren (Federation of Information and Communication Technology Service Workers of Japan) about its organizational structure, efforts to expand, and related issues and engaged in discussions. They showed much interest in Joho Roren’s peace campaign and social contribution activities, such as its efforts to solve environmental issues and to assist the reconstruction of disaster-hit areas following the Great East Japan Earthquake, as well as its efforts to organize workers. The participants asked many questions.
In the discussions with RENGO Ishikawa, the participants heard an explanation of RENGO Ishikawa’s various activities and asked questions about union dues, the regional minimum wage, and worker education. As the workplace visit, they visited the head office and Komatsu Plant of J-BUS Ltd., where they were able to engage in discussions attended by both labour and management representatives. They showed interest especially in the union’s efforts to ensure the safety and health of workers in the plant and labour-management consultations.
The participants also visited the Hello Work Kanazawa public employment office, where they were able to actually experience online job-search terminals. They were clearly impressed by the fact that such job searching is possible at any Hello Work office across the nation. The participants from Mongolia were particularly interested in the system, since a similar job-introduction service has been established in their country recently.