LFTU/JILAF Seminar on Industrial Relations (IR) and Labour Policy in Laos

Greetings from President Aihara during the opening ceremony

On January 19-20, 2022, the Japan International Labour Foundation (JILAF), together with the Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU), were able to hold an online seminar on industrial relations (IR) and labour policy with participants in Vientiane and Champasak Province. In total, there were 120 participants in attendance.

At the opening ceremony, JILAF President Yasunobu Aihara extended his greetings and explained the purpose of the seminar and other such matters to all the participants. In addition, he expressed that the seminar will lead to the actualisation of decent work and stable social and economic development through the enhancement of the social security system and the building of constructive industrial relations. Following this, the Deputy Director of the LFTU’s Labour Protection Bureau stated that they would like to learn various things from Japan and make use of this knowledge to improve the work environment in Laos, given that the incidence of corporate bankruptcies and unemployment has risen in the country over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the Vice President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) also explained matters such as the transition to the new normal after COVID-19 and the importance of obtaining social insurance. In closing, the Director of the Labour Protection Department of the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MLSW) reported an increase in industrial disputes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and expressed his hopes for the seminar to play a part in resolving industrial disputes in the future.

 After the opening ceremony, JILAF Group Leader Naohiro Tsuji started the seminar by explaining (1) Japan's social security system, (2) the labour measures for combating COVID-19, and (3) the role and challenges of Japan’s labour movement. Subsequently, the Director of the Labour Protection Department of MLSW gave a presentation about the prevention of industrial disputes, while the Director of the Labour Protection Department of LFTU spoke about the advance prevention of industrial disputes during the COVID-19 pandemic, problem-solving, and the role of LFTU in the building of constructive labor relations. In addition, the Deputy Director of the LFTU’s Labour Protection Bureau reported that there were twenty three disputes in 2021, nineteen of which were resolved. The LNCCI Representative of Champasak Province also shared details of the current situation where it is difficult to even hire workers at the minimum wage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He then expressed his desire for each company to utilize Japan’s social security and pension system, measures of preventing industrial disputes, and other such insights acquired from the seminar.
 From the participants, questions were received about matters such as, (1) the system of obtaining social insurance in Japan and the contribution ratio therein, (2) the method of unionisation in Japan, (3) the way in which the Lao Ministry of Labour should protect workers in special economic zones, (4) support and protection for Lao workers who are working overseas, and (5) the method of explaining the benefits of joining a union for workers. In response to these questions, the appropriate answers were given.
 
 On the second day, Director Teruhiko Sekiguchi of the JILAF Thailand Office looked back on the first day, and expressed the importance of having discussions and cooperation between government, labour and management in solving various problems in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Following this, group discussions were carried out on the theme of "building constructive industrial relations and efforts to prevent industrial disputes."
 Each group then gave a presentation about matters such as (1) how it is important to establish clear labour contracts for individuals and groups, (2) how it is important for labour and management to have joint discussions to build a common understanding of their direction and responses, (3) how it is important for labour and management to comply with laws such as the Labor Law, as well as (4) the importance of clarifying the roles of government, labour and management. Afterwards, JILAF Group Leader Tsuji expressed his gratitude for the constructive presentations made by each group, and emphasized the importance of the roles of government, labour and management, as well as the importance of solving problems through discussions and negotiations between labour and management.
 Lastly, JILAF Deputy Secretary General Toshihiro Saito made a statement about how constructive industrial relations are important given the COVID-19 pandemic, and how such relations also contribute to employment stability, before closing the seminar by expressing his appreciation for the active discussions made by the participants over the past two days.

Photos of the Participants

Lao guests 

Venue 

Online participants