Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Bangladesh

Opening ceremony address by JILAF Secretary General Ryo 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 40 officials and leaders of trade unions under the ITUC-BC.

At the opening ceremony, former ITUC-BC General Secretary Jahangir Alam Chowdhury 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 offered his condolences for victims who lost their lives and people who suffered due to Typhoon No. 19 in Japan and led a silent prayer for them. JILAF Secretary General Ryo Saito then expressed sympathy and condolences for the victims and sufferers of Cyclone Bulbul (about 2.15 million people, 30,000 homes destroyed). After mentioning the longstanding friendly relations between Japan and Bangladesh and substantial collaboration with the ITUC-BC, he went on to emphasize and explain the purpose of the industrial relations and labour policy seminar, which JILAF implements on consignment from the Japanese government.

JILAF Secretary General Saito then delivered a lecture titled “Japan’s Labour Movement and Constructive Industrial Relations,” in which he explained the transformation of industrial 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 industrial relations in Bangladesh, to which JILAF Secretary General Saito gave pertinent replies. The first day’s program ended with Bangladeshi speakers giving lectures on “The Social Security System in Bangladesh” and “The Current State of the Labour Movement in Bangladesh and Issues Toward the Building of Sound Industrial Relations.”

On the second day, a Bangladeshi speaker gave a lecture titled “Industrial Relations in Bangladesh: Issues and Solutions,” in which he stressed that there was much to learn from Japan’s constructive industrial relations. The participants then 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 trustworthy relations with employers, and, on top of that, the desire to spread Japan’s labour-management consultation system in workplaces, 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, JILAF Secretary General Saito expressed his 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 union members through everyday communication.” He ended the two-day seminar by encouraging the participants to steadily implement their action plans.


11/12TueSeminar day 1 (venue: Dhaka)
11/13WedSeminar day 2 (venue: Dhaka)

Photos of the Participants

JILAF lecture on “Japanese Trade Unions: Issues and Role ”

Group discussions

Group photo of participants