INTUC/JILAF Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminars in India

Group photo

JILAF held industrial relations and labour policy seminars on the main theme of building constructive industrial relations toward the prevention of industrial disputes in Sriperumbudur on November 20–21, 2020, and in Chennai on January 8–9, 2021, both in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. (Participation from Japan was online.) A total of 45 people participated in the Sriperumbudur seminar and 48 people in the Chennai seminar.
In the Sriperumbudur seminar, regarding the role and issues of trade unions, JILAF shared information mainly on efforts to build constructive industrial relations and prevent pointless industrial disputes, also explaining the historical background and emphasizing the productivity movement in particular. The participants asked questions on such topics as industrial relations in India compared with the example of Japan and action needed to shift poor industrial relations onto a better track, to which JILAF gave pertinent replies.

Next, the general manager of labour and personnel affairs at Modine Thermal Systems (India), and the general manager of labour and personnel affairs at Axil India, explained the history and issues of industrial relations in India from the viewpoint of management and the present state of labour legislation and protection of workers’ rights in India. In particular, regarding the revised labour codes enacted last year by the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they explained how the relationship between federal codes and state codes had been complicated, so, under the leadership of the federal government, labour legislation had been reorganized into four codes on wages, social security, industrial relations, and occupational safety, health, and working conditions.
Mr. Shri VR Jaganathan, Tamil Nadu state president of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), then explained the issues of industrial relations in India, making comparisons with Japan’s industrial relations, and proposed topics for the next day’s group work.
On the following day, the participants took part in group work on the theme of “Efforts required for the building of constructive industrial relations.” They then presented action plans, suggesting, among other things, the “necessity of close communication with management in order to develop industrial relations” and “trade unions need to strengthen their organization, and trade union executives need to engage in self-study for this purpose.”
In the closing ceremony, JILAF Deputy Secretary General Toshihiro Saito told the participants that “Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, it is an extremely difficult time. But I hope that you see this misfortune as an opportunity to engage in discussions from your respective standpoints and build better industrial relations and workplace environments.” INTUC Tamil Nadu State President Jaganathan expressed his gratitude for the continued support of JILAF and the Japanese government, which had made it possible to hold the seminar amid the harsh conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic. He also urged the participants to practice what they had learned in their activities.
In the Chennai seminar, after mentioning measures in Japan to minimize the impact of Covid-19 on employment, ILAF shared information regarding the role and issues of trade unions, mainly on efforts to build constructive industrial relations and prevent pointless industrial disputes, as well as the historical background. The participants asked questions on such topics as industrial relations in India compared with the example of Japan, details of the three guiding principles of productivity, and the current state of worker protection in Japan amid the Covid-19 pandemic, to which JILAF gave pertinent replies.
Next, the general manager of labour and personnel affairs at Bridgestone India Automotive Products, a lawyer, and the deputy general managerof labour and personnel affairs at NSK Bearings India, explained the history and issues of industrial relations in India from the viewpoint of management and the present state of labour legislation and protection of workers’ rights in India. In particular, regarding the revised labour codes enacted last year by the administration of Prime Minister Modi, they explained how the relationship between federal codes and state codes had been complicated, so, under the leadership of the federal government, labour legislation had been reorganized into four codes on wages, social security, industrial relations, and occupational safety, health, and working conditions.
On the following day, the participants took part in group work on the theme of “Efforts required for the building of constructive industrial relations.” They then presented action plans, suggesting, among other things, the need to “grasp the workplace situation from the viewpoint of trade union members and, after doing so, think carefully about how to convey opinions to management before taking action” and to “understand conditions with an objective view.”
Finally, JILAF Counselor Koichi Oyama ended the seminar by telling the participants that in the action plans he had been extremely impressed in particular by plans to improve the workplace. Amid the Covid-19 crisis, he said, it was an extremely difficult time, but it was necessary to build trust between trade unions and companies and between trade union executives and trade union members. He urged the participants to engage in discussions from their respective standpoints and to build better industrial relations and workplace environments.

Photos of the Participants

Scene of lecture

A participant’s action plan