Special Invitation team consisting of six persons (including two women) from Thailand and Indonesia visited Japan for six days from October 12. All of the participating union leaders had taken part in JILAF’s invitation program in the past.
The participants underwent training on such topics as the recent labour situation in Japan and also held an “Exchange of Views on Labour Situation” meeting on October 15, at which they provided information about labour conditions, industrial disputes, and other issues in their own countries. The “Exchange of Views on Labour Situation” meeting was attended by about 45 persons from labour unions, the government, the media, and companies.
The Thai participants reported about the impact on Thai workers of the revision of the minimum wage to a uniform level of 300 baht (about 1,080 yen). According to the report, various problems are arising, such as the dismissal of workers, the reduction of allowances and welfare spending, the hiring of illegal foreign workers at low wages, and a shift to dispatch workers. In addition, regarding industrial disputes in Japanese companies operating in Thailand, cases were reported of a dispute occurring due to violation of the worker protection law, a dispute caused by the dismissal of workers during negotiations, and an ongoing dispute ignoring an order from the minister of labour.
The Indonesian participants reported on such issues as (1) the problem of outsourcing; (2) the minimum wage hike; (3) the problem of social security, including the pension system scheduled to be introduced in July 2015 ; (4) the problem of perks and benefits for workers, such as transport expenses, meals, and welfare; and (5) the problem of freedom of association. In addition, there was a report about an industrial dispute occurring because of union bashing.
As a workplace visit, with the cooperation of Shitetsu Soren (General Federation of Private Railway Workers’ Unions of Japan), the participants visited the Tokyo Metro Fukagawa Plant, where they asked many questions about such issues as efforts to improve the workplace environment and working conditions. Being able to actually observe workers on the job and inspect various activities was very meaningful for the participants, who commented that the experience would be useful reference for their own activities from now on.