JILAF invited 13 persons (of whom 5 were women) from Cambodia and Myanmar to visit Japan from July 2 to 15.
In terms of the labour movement, these two countries are at almost the same development stage, and the participants showed an eagerness, through exchange with Japanese trade union members, to acquire information about industrial relations, legislative information, and other issues in Japan so as to prevent meaningless industrial disputes and achieve employment stability through the building of constructive industrial relations.
In the first half of the program, they heard lectures on the role and issues of the Japanese labour movement and trade union leadership. Also, in a lecture on labour and social security legislation supporting the labour movement, they heard about and discussed labour-related laws and regulations, such as the Labour Standards Act and Trade Union Act, and the social security system.
In the visit to RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), the Department of International Affairs gave an explanation of the organization and priority activities of the RENGO headquarters, and the Department of Working Conditions gave a lecture about the minimum wage. At the Japan Productivity Center, the participants were given a lecture on the three guiding principles of productivity, Japanese-style industrial relations, and future issues.
JILAF also organized an expanded version of the Exchange of Views on Labour Situation meeting with the participation of a total of 70 persons, including 42 students and others from Ochanomizu University, Rikkyo University, and Waseda University, as well as JILAF officials and the invited team members. JILAF officials had visited the universities concerned beforehand, and their lectures to students there paid off at the meeting in the form of lively questions and answers. On the Cambodian side, the invited members reported that (1) the existing social security system consists of two elements, industrial accident compensation insurance and health insurance; (2) studies have begun on the operation of a pension system; (3) the labour law is not applicable to informal-sector workers; (4) trade union formation requires registration with the government; and (5) the Ministry of Labour conducts arbitration when industrial disputes arise. On the Myanmar side, the invited members reported that (1) the trade union law has been applied since 2012, so gradually it has become possible to form basic, local, regional, and industrial organizations, and (2) punishment for violating the labour law consists only of fines.
In the regional RENGO program, the participants visited RENGO Kagoshima, where they were given an outline of the organization, issues currently being faced, and its efforts to expand organization. Discussions focused on such topics as the content of consultations received by RENGO and the specific response to foreign workers. On their second day in Kagoshima, the participants visited a plant of Ohkuchi Electronics Co., Ltd., where they received a lecture on life and steel, the work of a steel factory, and the history of steel and then inspected the facilities.
In the workplace visit, the participants went to Kokko Rengo (Japan Public Sector Union), where they received a lecture on its founding objectives, membership, and other topics. They learned that in view of their special position and the public nature of their work, there are restrictions on the basic labour rights of public-sector workers in Japan. Instead, they were told, public-sector workers enjoy statutory working conditions and wage recommendations by the National Personnel Authority and Personnel Commission, and the wages of national public-sector workers exert a significant impact on the private sector.
In the discussions with JILAF officials, which lent support to their understanding, the participants received suggestions and asked questions about mainly the importance of social dialogue and tripartism. After that, the participants proposed mainly the following action plans:
*Want to share understanding of the importance of organization and promote organization. (Cambodia)
*Want to conclude labour agreements and improve labour-management relations. (Cambodia)
*Want to publicize investments and promote the necessary legislation in order to create labour banks. (Cambodia)
*Want to strengthen and enhance labour laws in order to reduce the number of industrial disputes. (Myanmar)
*Want to establish an employment insurance system (unemployment benefits). (Myanmar)