Between February 16 and 19, the 14th Youth Leadership Course was held online in cooperation with the International Trade Union Confederation Asia-Pacific (ITUC-AP) and the Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute (OTCi). A total of 28 individuals participated in this seminar.
At the beginning of the lecture, JILAF President Aihara and ITUC-AP General Secretary Yoshida welcomed the participants from various countries, and General Secretary Yoshida then gave a lecture on "A Social Contract and Five Demands for Recovery From the COVID-19 Pandemic." He touched on the fact that, in addition to the recent excessive market economy, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the working environment in countries around the world, and the world's wealth is not being distributed fairly, explaining, “To realize social justice, the ITUC-AP will focus its activities on the following five points: (1) employment, (2) rights, (3) social protection, (4) equality, and (5) inclusiveness. It is important for us to listen to the voices of not only labor and management but also society at large, to be sincere in dealing with differing opinions, and to engage in dialogue with society.”
JILAF Program Manager Morishita spoke on "The Role of Japanese Trade Unions and the State of Social Dialogue During the COVID-19 Pandemic," explaining (1) that Japanese labor and management place importance on employment stability, (2) that employment stability is discussed at the Labor Policy Council, a tripartite body, and (3) the three productivity factors behind the emphasis on employment stability, in addition to explaining (4) the labor-management consultation system for realizing the three productivity principles. “It is precisely at times like these that it is important, not only for labor and management but for society as a whole, for labor and management to not be at odds with each other and for both sides to come to a compromise and work together to overcome the crisis,” he appealed.
Several lecturers from the ITUC-AP each explained, using various methods (including discussions with participants and sharing a song created by the ITUC-AP), the importance of organizing, the role of labor unions in achieving SDG Goal 8, addressing income inequality through decent work and economic growth by improving incomes, and the challenges and strategies for involving youth in the movement.
The Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute (OTCi), under the theme of "Building Strong Leadership," explained that "We are currently in an era of change. In this era, it is important to have leadership that can react immediately with a firm sense of responsibility, rather than the old-style leadership of waiting and being patient. It is also important to be able to adapt to change while staying close to the feelings of those members who are negative or confused about the changes. Change is a crisis, but it is also an opportunity. The question for each of you is how you can make positive changes in your organization.”
At the closing ceremony, ITUC-AP General Secretary Yoshida stated that "Everyone participating in this program will build the labor movement of the future. To that end, I hope that this program will be an opportunity to deepen solidarity with our colleagues around the world.” Then, JILAF Deputy Secretary General Saito, after referring to the significance of the program, made the following encouraging speech to close the seminar: "In order for labor unions to be more accepted by society, and especially to gain support from the younger generation like you, we must call more attention among society at large to our efforts to address social issues such as widening disparities caused by globalization, climate change, and human rights. And the larger the labor unions become, the more they will be able to increase their presence in dialogue with labor, management, and society.”