Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Bangladesh

Opening ceremony address by JILAF Secretary General Saito

JILAF, together with the Bangladesh Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-BC), held a two-day industrial relations and labour policy seminar in Dhaka on November 12–13. The seminar was attended by about 50 executives and leaders of trade unions under the ITUC-BC.
At the opening ceremony, ITUC-BC Secretary General Nurul Islam Khan Nasim expressed his gratitude for the support and cooperation of JILAF and the Japanese government over many years toward the building of constructive industrial relations, employment stability, and so on. He also outlined the significance and aims of the seminar. Next, JILAF Secretary General Ryo Saito commented that amid unstable political and public security conditions, he harbored expectations for the Bangladeshi government’s policy of building the safest nation in South Asia and also hoped for the free, fair, and peaceful implementation of the upcoming general election. After mentioning the longstanding friendly relations between Japan and Bangladesh and collaboration with the ITUC-BC, he also went on to explain the purpose of the seminar.
JILAF Secretary General Saito then delivered a lecture titled “Japan’s Labour Movement and Constructive Industrial Relations,” in which he explained the transformation of labour-management relations in Japan; the balanced deployment of collective bargaining and the labour-management consultation system; minimum wage demands based on productivity improvement and emphasizing the existence of multinational enterprises as the drivers of economic growth; efforts by labour and management to raise wages without relying on the minimum wage; the rallying and assembling of the labour movement toward protecting the rights and raising the status of workers, including informal-sector workers; the management of free, democratic, and transparent trade unions; and efforts to strengthen relations of trust with union members in the workplace and improve the working environment and job stability with a sense of ownership by labour and management. JILAF Secretary General Saito noted that while observers are talking about the arrival of the age of Asia as a result of the growth of the global economy, on the flip side violation of the rights of workers and the qualitative deterioration of employment are becoming issues in various countries. He therefore expressed his hope that the participants would make efforts toward the building of constructive industrial relations.
The participants stated their opinions and asked many questions about how to improve labour-management relations in Bangladesh, to which JILAF Secretary General Saito gave pertinent replies. The first day’s program ended with Bangladeshi speakers talking about the current state of the labour movement in Bangladesh and issues toward the building of sound industrial relations and the social insurance system.
On the second day, after JILAF Secretary General Saito had looked back on the proceedings of the first day, the participants divided into six groups for discussions and mutual presentations on the theme of “Toward the building of constructive industrial relations and the protection of workers.”
In addition to common views among the groups concerning contributions to productivity improvement, the fostering of relations of trust with employers, and, on top of that, the diffusion in workplaces of Japan’s labour-management consultation system, the group proposals also included (1) abandonment of hostile labour-management relations and realization of labour-management and social dialogue; (2) protection of the rights of workers and promotion of the labour movement through solidarity and integration among national centers transcending supported political parties and beliefs (formation of a single national center); (3) the inclusion in the labour movement of women workers and informal-sector workers and their organization and protection; (4) the promotion of sound trade union finances and their transparent management; and (5) strengthened training of human resources to lead labour in the next generation. JILAF Secretary General Saito gave pertinent advice on these proposals.
Finally, ITUC-BC Secretary General Nasim and JILAF Secretary General Saito expressed their appreciation for the enthusiastic participation of the participants and emphasized that to build constructive industrial relations in companies, it is important not only to establish relations of trust with employers but also to gain the understanding and cooperation of shop-floor union members through everyday communication. They ended the two-day seminar by encouraging the participants to steadily implement their action plans.

Schedule

DateContents
11/12MonSeminar day 1 (Venue: In Dhaka)
11/13TueSeminar day 2 (Venue: In Dhaka)

Photos of Participants

Opening ceremony address by ITUC-BC Secretary General Nasim

ILAF lecture on “Issues and Role of Japanese Trade Unions ”

Group photo of participants

Q&A

Group discussions

Group presentation