JILAF and the National Trade Union Center of the Philippines (NTUC Phl) jointly held online industrial relations and labour policy seminars on October 14–17 and 21–24, 2020. The seminars were attended by a total of 96 people.
At the beginning, opening addresses were given by NTUC Phl President Rodolfo Capoquian, JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo, and First Secretary Chihiro Kanno of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines, who all spoke to the participants about the seminar’s purpose and objective.
After mentioning measures in Japan to minimize the impact of Covid-19 on employment, JILAF Deputy Secretary General Toshihiro Saito then spoke about the role and issues of trade unions, giving a comprehensive explanation of the history of Japanese trade unions, 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 consultation system, etc.). He emphasized the necessity precisely now, amid the impact of Covid-19, of labour-management consultations and social dialogue. The participants asked questions and gave their opinions on such matters as measures to improve the organization rate and build constructive industrial relations.
Next, the NTUC Phl reported on the current economic and labour situation in the Philippines and other issues. The NTUC Phl indicated its awareness that organization expansion should be strengthened in the future because, in the age of the new normal, trade unions also would be required to adopt a new role.
Several speakers participated from the Philippine Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE). Amid the impact of Covid-19, they talked about (1) the labour market and industrial relations, (2) the industrial dispute resolution mechanism, (3) legal compliance over labour affairs, (4) the transition to a new normal, and (5) the shift to sustainable green jobs.
Furthermore, a speaker from the Manila Office of the International Labour Organization (ILO) reported, among other things, that one in six young people around the world had lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic and that 1.6 billion informal workers had been placed in critical conditions. As measures in response to Covid-19 based on international labour standards, the speaker explained the four pillars of (1) economic and employment stimulus, (2) income support for both companies and workers, (3) worker protection in workplaces, and (4) functional strengthening of social dialogue.
A speaker from the Philippines Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) noted that despite the unavoidable impact of the pandemic, such as a slump in global supply chains and a worldwide stagnation of economic activity, more than 80% of plants in economic zones were operating. The PEZA speaker also outlined a vision aimed at further vitalizing the economic zones, creating jobs, and contributing to the economic development of the Philippines by implementing projects to enhance the international competitiveness of the country.
After dividing into two groups to share information on the various issues occurring in their respective companies and workplaces, the participants presented action plans based on what they had learned in the seminar. Finally, a representative of the participants ended the seminar by declaring their strong determination to definitely not halt their trade union activities, and indeed to strengthen them, even amid the pandemic.