ITUC-TC/JILAF Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Thailand

Group photo at the seminar in Chachoengsao Province

JILAF, together with the Thai Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-TC), held industrial relations and labour policy seminars in Chachoengsao Province on July 7 and Bangkok on July 9. The two seminars were attended by a total of 116 persons, including officials from the four national centers under the ITUC-TC and main industrial unions (Japanese company unions), as well as representatives from the Thai Ministry of Labour and the Employers’ Confederation of Thailand (ECOT).

In the seminar in Chachoengsao Province on July 7, opening addresses were given by JILAF Counselor Koichi Oyama, the head of the Department of Industrial Relations in the Thai Ministry of Labour, ITUC-TC Acting Secretary General Karn Jantor (secretary general of the Thai Trade Union Congress [TTUC]), an ECOT advisor, First Secretary Kazuma Takago of the Japanese Embassy in Thailand, and Mr. Sho Sudo, chief technical advisor and overall coordinator at the International Labour Organization’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. These speakers emphasized the significance of the seminar and expressed the hope that it would be a step toward building sound industrial relations, raising the status of workers, and improving their lives.

JILAF Counselor Oyama then gave a lecture on the role and issues of trade unions in Japan, in which he shared information on the building of constructive industrial relations, the prevention of meaningless industrial disputes, and efforts to stabilize employment, as well as the historical background. The participants asked questions about such issues as the role of public-interest members in the tripartite Labour Relations Commissions and the criteria for their selection, the criteria for judging the fair distribution cited in the three principles of productivity, and measures to counter the unstable employment of nonregular workers in Japan. JILAF Counselor Oyama replied to these questions by outlining the present situation and future direction.

In the following presentations of their experiences, the participants explained how they were continuing to make efforts to build sound industrial relations with reference to Japanese industrial relations, including (1) measures in cases where employers do not comply with labour agreements, (2) measures to counter lockouts and settlement, and (3) the practice in Japanese company unions of discussing matters with the company before the official submission of demands and making adjustments to the demands accordingly.

Group discussions were also held on the themes of “Efforts to build sound industrial relations” and “The prevention of meaningless industrial disputes.”

In their presentations, the groups stressed that to build constructive industrial relations, it was important (1) to have mutual respect between labour and management and foster relations of trust, (2) to ensure the transparency of management, such as the disclosure of management information, and (3) to improve communication between labour and management through regular discussions and consultations, as well as information sharing.

In response to the presentations by each group, Director Teruhiko Sekiguchi of the JILAF Thailand Office and representatives from the Thai Ministry of Labour and ECOT gave pertinent comments. Finally, JILAF Counselor Oyama closed the seminar by stressing that to build relations based on labour-management equality and mutual trust, it was important for trade unions themselves to be recognized by employers as the true representatives of workers. For this purpose, he added, it is vital to always have close communication with shop-floor union members, to listen carefully to their opinions and requests, and to confront employers with the general will of the workers.

In the seminar held in Bangkok on July 9, opening addresses were given by JILAF Counselor Oyama, the head of the Thai Ministry of Labour’s Department of Industrial Relations, ITUC-TC Acting Secretary General Karn Jantor (secretary general of the TTUC), ECOT advisor Ukrish Kanchanaketu, First Secretary Takago of the Japanese Embassy in Thailand, and Mr. Sudo, chief technical advisor and overall coordinator at the ILO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. The speakers stressed the significance of the seminar and expressed the hope that it would be a step toward the building of sound industrial relations, strengthening of the labour movement, and bolstering of the social dialogue.

In addition to the same lecture that he gave at the seminar in Chachoengsao Province on the role and issues of Japanese trade unions, JILAF Counselor Oyama shared information on Japan’s social security system and workstyle reform legislation.

The participants asked questions on such issues as (1) the prohibition of accounting assistance to unions and the financial affairs of unions, (2) the refusal of employers to engage in collective bargaining, (3) the specific content of employment insurance benefits, (4) the sustainability of the pension system in an aged society, and (5) measures to increase the birthrate. JILAF Counselor Oyama replied to these questions by outlining the present situation and future direction.

Group discussions then took place on the themes of “Efforts toward the building of constructive industrial relations” and “Social and economic issues that trade unions should unite in tackling.” Each group emphasized that in building constructive industrial relations, it is important (1) for labour and management to have mutual respect and to engage in close communication and (2) for management and other information to be shared prior to the holding of labour-management consultations and negotiations.

As issues that trade unions should unite and cooperate in tackling, among others, the participants cited (1) improvement of the social security system, (2) the ratification of ILO conventions, and (3) the revision of outdated labour legislation.

In response to the presentations by each group, Director Sekiguchi of the JILAF Thailand Office, representatives of the Thai Ministry of Labour and ECOT, and First Secretary Takago made pertinent comments. Finally, JILAF Counselor Oyama remarked that to build relations of trust between labour and management, which each group had cited, close communication was necessary not only between labour and management but inside unions as well. JILAF Counselor Oyama ended the seminar by adding that to address various social problems, he hoped for deepened discussions both among unions and in the tripartite framework of government, labour, and management.

Schedule

DateContents
07/07SunSeminar day 1 (venue: Chachoengsao Province)
07/08MonSeminar day 2 (venue: Bangkok)

Photos of the Participants

Lecture by JILAF Counselor Oyama (Bangkok)

Address by the head of the Department of Industrial Relations in the Thai Ministry of Labour (Chachoengsao Province)

Address by First Secretary Takago of the Japanese Embassy in Thailand (Chachoengsao Province)

Address by Mr. Sudo, chief technical advisor and overall coordinator at the ILO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Chachoengsao Province)

Group discussions (Chachoengsao Province)

Group photo of seminar participants (Bangkok)

Address by ITUC-TC Acting Secretary General Karn Jantor (Bangkok)

Address by ECOT advisor Ukrish Kanchanaketu (Bangkok)

Group presentation (Bangkok)