On December 18, 2020, JILAF and the Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) jointly held an online multinational seminar on “Building an Inclusive Future Through Social Dialogue, Tripartism, and Collective Bargaining.”
The seminar was attended by 41 midlevel trade union leaders in the Asia-Pacific region (Bangladesh, Cook Islands, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, East Timor, and Vietnam).
At the beginning, after an opening address by ILO-ACTRAV Director Harry Cunningham, JILAF Counselor Koichi Oyama noted the cooperative relations between JILAF and the ILO-ACTRAV over many years and explained the purpose of the multinational seminar, which is a project consigned by the Japanese government. Counselor Oyama then spoke about the role and challenges of trade unions, sharing information mainly on efforts to build constructive industrial relations and prevent pointless industrial disputes, as well as the historical background. He also shared information with the participants about measures in Japan to minimize the impact of Covid-19 on employment (especially matters relating to the application of industrial accident compensation insurance and employment adjustment subsidies to support companies).
The participants reported on the improvement of industrial relations and measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in their countries and asked many questions about (1) reasons for the decline in the number of trade union members; (2) reasons for the differences in income and employment rate between men and women; (3) the legal positioning of the annual spring labour struggle and the obligation of employers to respond; (4) changes in the lifelong employment system in Japan; (5) measures to expand the safety net for informal-sector workers; and (6) the application of social security and legal protection to foreign workers in Japan and their organization in trade unions. JILAF Counselor Oyama gave replies to these questions.
Finally, ILO-ACTRAV Program Manager Rafael Mapalo and JILAF Counselor Oyama expressed appreciation for the participants’ active participation and lively questions. Counselor Oyama ended the seminar with the comment, “Precisely in these difficult times amid the Covid-19 pandemic, let us pool our wisdom together and do our utmost to strengthen industrial relations and cooperation with society.”