JILAF and the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions (CMTU) jointly held an online industrial relations and labour policy seminar on November 4–5, 2020. The seminar was attended by a total of 124 people in not only Ulaanbaatar but also the provinces of Sukhbaatar, Dornod, and Khenti in eastern Mongolia.
At the beginning, addresses were given by JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo and CMTU President Amgalanbaatar Khayankhyarvaa, who both explained the purpose and objective of the seminar with the participants.
Next, after mentioning the present state of Covid-19 in Japan and measures to minimize the impact of the pandemic on employment, JILAF Deputy Secretary General Toshihiro Saito spoke about the role and issues of trade unions, comprehensively explaining the history of the Japanese labour movement, the present state and issues of Japanese trade unions, and the function and role of Japanese trade unions (annual spring labour struggle, productivity movement, labour-management consultations, etc.).
CMTU General Secretary Adiya Ggorchinsure then explained such topics as (1) an analysis of the present state of society, politics, and the economy in Mongolia and the priority measures of trade unions; (2) strengthening of the respective roles and duties of the central and regional organizations to achieve the organizational goals of the CMTU (strengthening of human resource development, organization expansion, etc.); and (3) the new issues faced by workers due to the impact of Covid-19, measures taken by the government so far, and proposals from trade unions.
Next, reports were heard on the state of trade union activities, issues, and so on in the provinces of Sukhbaatar, Dornod, and Khenti. The reports indicated common problems in organization expansion at the sum (county) level. The main contents included (1) most trade unions are organized by regional public-sector workers and very few by workers in private companies; (2) there are no trade union offices at the sum level, so trade union activities are quite restricted because officials have their own jobs to do as well; and (3) for organization expansion, it is necessary to improve the knowledge and skills of trade union executives and to strengthen the financial base of trade unions.
In response to these reports, CMTU General Secretary Adiya said that in the 365 counties in Mongolia, there were mostly small companies and many informal workers engaged in nomadic work or agriculture, but the CMTU wanted to target the organization of such workers in the future. He also stated that the CMTU wanted to establish opportunities for trade union executives at the county level to study such topics as the mechanism of tripartite consultations, sound industrial relations, and decent work with reference to examples in Japan.
A question-and-answer session followed in which the participants in each province asked questions about the revision of labour legislation, raising of the mandatory retirement age, nonpayment of wages, and so on. In addition to replies from departments in the CMTU headquarters, JILAF also made pertinent comments with reference to examples in Japan.
After expressing gratitude for the many enthusiastic and forward-looking statements by participants in the three eastern provinces of Mongolia, JILAF President Nagumo delivered a closing comment, saying, “I hope that the regional organizations and central organization of the CMTU will come together and display their strength as trade unions trusted by society through the drafting of policies for local residents from the perspective of ordinary people.” CMTU General Secretary Adiya then ended the seminar with the comment, “The organization of informal-sector workers will be a priority issue from now on. With the cooperation of all of you participating in this seminar, we will strive to expand organization in the provinces and to raise the organizational strength of the CMTU as a whole.”