English-Speaking Youth Team

Opening ceremony (address by JILAF president)

Following restrictions on entry into Japan due to the spread of Covid-19 infections, the program of the English-Speaking Youth Team also was held online via the Internet. A total of 11 persons (including 5 women) participated from December 7 to 11, 2020—two persons (including one woman) in Indonesia, one person in Nepal, seven persons (including four women) in the Philippines, and one person in Malaysia.

Young trade union activists who are considered to be promising as future leaders of the labour movements in their countries, which have many Japanese companies, are invited to learn about such topics as Japan’s industrial relations, labour-management practices, labour legislation, and efforts to improve productivity and stabilize employment and to provide them with information relating to the building of constructive industrial relations, democratic trade union management, and so on.

As future leaders, the participants took part positively in the program with a desire to utilize what they learned in their activities in their own countries. The real-time online sessions proceeded without any major problem, and discussions were lively. The participants commented, however, that they would like to actually visit Japan and view firsthand the activities and conditions of Japanese trade unions and related organizations.

In a lecture on the role and issues of the Japanese labour movement, the participants were given an overall picture of the purpose of the program. They heard about such issues as the transformation of trade unions in the postwar society and economy of Japan and the present state of trade unions; efforts to prevent industrial disputes and secure employment stability through discussion-oriented constructive industrial relations differentiating between collective bargaining and labour-management consultations; the annual spring labour struggle; and the holding of tripartite (government-labour-management) consultations.

In lectures by RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), the International Policy Division gave an outline of the RENGO Headquarters and explained such matters as priority activities and RENGO’s peace campaign, and the Gender Equity and Diversity Promotion Division explained its activities, thereby deepening the understanding of the participants.

Regarding Japan’s labour legislation and social security system, in a lecture by JILAF, the participants studied details of the mechanisms supporting workers, and in a lecture by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, they received an outline of the ministry’s work, thus deepening their understanding.

In a lecture on trade union leadership, after an overview of the mental readiness of trade union leaders, the social role of trade unions, and so on, the participants learned about the importance of engaging in the labour movement while taking account of the various issues facing each country and having a medium- and long-term perspective.

In a lecture by the Japan Productivity Center, the participants were given an explanation of the three guiding principles of productivity and Japanese-style industrial relations and were able to deepen their understanding of the position of the three guiding principles of productivity in industrial relations and their contribution to productivity improvement in Japan.

In a lecture by Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), the participants heard about the desired form of the three guiding principles of productivity from the standpoint of employers and the contribution of trade unions to productivity improvement based on Japanese-style industrial relations and labour-management practices.
In a lecture by the National Association of Labour Banks, the participants heard about the structure and history of labour banks originating from a spirit of mutual aid, as well as Japan’s security market and its characteristics.
In the follow-up on the final day (discussions with JILAF directors), the directors answered questions submitted beforehand by the participants so as to deepen their understanding. In the closing ceremony, the participants proposed action plans and expressed their determination to further utilize the knowledge they had gained in the program based on their respective experiences.

The following were the main points of the action plans proposed by the participants:
(1) “I want to develop what I have learned about industrial relations, the productivity movement, and so on in my own organization.”
(2) “I want to form an organization team with reference to Japan’s efforts.”
(3) “I will improve union leadership training so as to foster leaders with analytical skills and an active approach.”
(4) “I will endeavor to improve the workplace environment and labour-management communication.”
(5) “I want to raise the minimum wage of people in need of support through labour-management consultations and organization.”
(6) “I want to gather information on platform works and try to organize them.”
(7) “I want to disseminate productivity improvement, labour-management consultations, and collective bargaining in training in my country.”
(8) “I will conduct a campaign to convey the role and necessity of trade unions to young people to promote their understanding.”

List of Cooperating Organizations

Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation)
Japan Productivity CenterNippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation)
National Association of Labour Banks

Many thanks to everyone.

Photos of the Participants

Closing ceremony (address by JILAF director general)

Q&A session

Participants on screen (Q&A session)