On December 10-11, the Japan International Labour Foundation (JILAF), together with the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), held an online seminar on industrial relations (IR) and labour policy with participants in Chennai. The seminar was attended by sixty three trade union officers affiliated with INTUC.
At the opening ceremony, INTUC Vice-President and Tamil Nadu Branch Chairman explained their long-standing relationship with JILAF and the accomplishments made from efforts such as IR seminars, and expressed their gratitude for the fact that such accomplishments had resulted from cooperation with JILAF. Following this, the Tamil Nadu Branch Chairman then advised the participants to think about all matters by placing themselves in another’s position. Lastly, on behalf of JILAF, President Yasunobu Aihara explained the relationship between JILAF and INTUC, before conveying the significance of constructive industrial relations and his expectations for the seminar through a video message.
At the start of the seminar, JILAF Group Leader Naohiro Tsuji explained matters including the historical background of Japanese society and trade unions, before giving a lecture on building constructive industrial relations and preventing unnecessary industrial disputes, with regards to the role and challenges of trade unions. Following this, he then gave an overview of the government's legal response to COVID-19 in Japan, the demands of Japanese trade unions, and the achievements therefrom. In response, INTUC Vice President expressed his hope for the participants to utilize the contents of the seminar to grow.
In the afternoon of the first day, the Director of INTUC’s Human Resources Department explained the labour legislation in India, then the participants had a group discussion on the theme of "Working Towards Bettering Constructive Industrial Relations."
On the second day, the participants gave a “review of the previous day” through a presentation, in which they stated the importance of transitioning from conflict to cooperation and their intention to achieve constructive industrial relations in India.
Then, through a video, the Director of the Human Resources Bureau explained the importance of understanding the field, and the legal reforms that have taken place since trade unions were formed in Chennai. In it, he also mentioned that in India, union leaders are used externally as consultants during struggles for pay raises, but in Japan, they are usually trained within unions, and programs are available for that purpose (including united graduate schools).
In presenting the insights obtained from the group discussions, each group revealed points such as the following.
1) Trade unions should teach people how to eliminate discrimination in the workplace and about the importance of safety equipment.
2) Appropriate advice is required from superiors.
3) In order to have good industrial relations, rules on matters such as safety should be followed and mutual demands should be made.
4) People are rewarded for making contributions to companies. It is important to acknowledge and respect each other's demands and to discuss them.
5) It is necessary to distribute profits, share information, create rules tailored to actual circumstances, and eliminate discrimination.
6) It is important to teach without condemning failure and to maintain motivation.
7) Evaluators need to evaluate fairly, listen properly, and work hard together.
At the end of the seminar, INTUC Vice-President and Tamil Nadu Branch Chairman expressed that despite the difficulty of producing good results through the collaborative project with JILAF and the difficulty of holding a gathering of twenty people under the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a high level of interest from the parties involved and gratitude towards JILAF's efforts, based on the fact that sixty three people, the largest number of people so far, were able to gather with the cooperation of the parties involved. In addition, he also expressed their intention to continue their activities by referencing the insights obtained from the seminar. In response to this, JILAF Deputy Secretary General Toshihiro Saito ended the seminar by stating that constructive industrial relations were not built overnight in Japan, and that it is important to practice what was learnt from the seminar in each workplace.