Laos-Vietnam Team

The Laos-Vietnam Team visited Japan on December 1–14, 2019.

Visit to Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. to learn about the role and policies of an industrial trade union federation and the efforts of the company’s labour and management

A total of 11 people (of whom 7 were women) from Laos and Vietnam visited Japan from December 1 to 14.

After hearing labour-related lectures to learn systematically about Japan’s industrial relations, labour practices, and so on, as their visit to an industrial trade union federation, the participants visited Insatsu Roren (Federation of Printing Information Media Workers’ Unions). In the regional RENGO program, they engaged in discussions at RENGO Kagawa, Hello Work Takamatsu, Shikoku Labour Bank, and with the vice-governor of Kagawa Prefecture, thereby deepening their understanding of the employment situation and employment measures in the prefecture. After that, they visited the Sakaide Works of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., where the trade union is affiliated with Kikan Roren (Japan Federation of Basic Industry Workers’ Unions). There they inspected a manufacturing site that has been a leader in Japan’s modernization and exchanged opinions on such topics as industrial relations and the employment system.

Laos has seen a sharp rise in the entry of multinational enterprises, including Japanese companies, and issues relating to the protection of workers’ rights, the violation of labour-related legislation, and so on are becoming increasingly evident. In Vietnam, meanwhile, where economic development is striking and Japanese companies are continuing to set up operations, trade unions are required to rebuild and strengthen organization in preparation for revision of the labour code.

Laos and Vietnam differ from Japan in terms of political setup and the situation of trade unions, but nevertheless the participants took part in the programs with an enthusiastic attitude of wanting to achieve employment stability for workers and social and economic development in their own countries. In particular, they showed a keen interest in such issues as the current state of nonregular employment, which is increasing in Japan, and efforts to organize nonregular workers; relations between trade unions and the government; labour laws and social security; and the present state of the acceptance of foreign workers.

In the Exchange of Views on Labour Situation meeting, the participants reported on the labour situation and issues in their countries. The participants from Laos spoke about the social security system, nonregular employment, and the present state of the informal sector, and the participants from Vietnam about revision of the labour code, the labour situation in multinational enterprises, and so on.

On the final day the participants compiled action plans, the main proposals of which were as follows:

---“To strengthen trade union organization, I want to implement training to foster union leaders, build a special organization strengthening team, and promote labour-management consultations with management in private companies and foreign enterprises in Vientiane.” (Laos)
---“I want to hold consultations on issues relating to working conditions and labour affairs management at the central, regional, and workplace levels and to further strengthen telephone consultation services.” (Laos)
---“I want to advise the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) and regional party committees to properly implement policies relating to the obligations and rights of workers. And I want to promote collaboration among employers, workers, and trade unions.” (Vietnam)
---“Through training and other activities, I want to share information with the VGCL and trade union members about the features of Japan’s labour movement, industrial relations, and so on that Vietnam’s trade unions should study.” (Vietnam)

List of Cooperating Organizations

Insatsu RorenJapan Productivity Center
Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation)RENGO Kagawa
Hello Work TakamatsuShikoku Labour Bank
Kawasaki Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. Sakaide Works (labour and management)Zenrosai Kyokai (National Association for Workers’ Welfare and Cooperative Insurance)

Many thanks to everyone.

Photos of the Participants

Learning about efforts to stabilize employment (Hello Work Takamatsu)

Learning about a Japanese manufacturing site and trade union activities there (Sakaide Works of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.)

Exchange of views on the labour situation in Kagawa, Laos, and Vietnam (RENGO Kagawa)