On October 27, the Japan International Labour Foundation (JILAF), together with the All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), held an online seminar on industrial relations (IR) and labour policy. The seminar was attended by 39 people, including executives and employees of ACFTU and the leaders of each member organisation.
At the seminar, the participants introduced themselves, then the Director of RENGO’s Wor-Q Support Center Yukari Nishino gave a lecture titled "The Current State of ‘Ambiguous Employment’ and RENGO’s Efforts to Address It." With regards to the current state of ambiguous employment in Japan and other such topics, Nishino described the matters that are discussed in consultations at their support center, and while doing so, shared that they are carefully collecting information on the needs of the parties involved and implementing concrete measures based on those needs, and explained the means of organising workers and so forth.
On the Chinese side, a professor from the China University of Labour Relations reported on "The Organisation of Workers and Labour/Industrial Relations in 'New Industries' that Involve Ambiguous Employment". In this, characteristic points such as the following were specified: (1) Like Japan, the number of people working through the Internet is increasing in China, and these people are facing various problems such as long working hours, low wages, and an undeveloped safety net; (2) ACFTU established a policy to address these problems in 2021, worked on organisation as a top priority, and revised the Trade Union Law; (3) In terms of organisation, the avenues for joining trade unions have been expanded through means such as establishing online contact points, and multilateral initiatives have been taken including organising workers by platform company and by region.
During the question-and-answer session and exchange of opinions, there was a proactive exchange of information on topics such as the development of industrial relations and the mutual aid system for freelancers in Japan, and the challenges associated with organising workers in both Japan and China.
At the closing of the seminar, the Deputy Director-General of the ACFTU’s International Liaison Department stated, "The world is in the midst of a whirlwind of change, which has become even greater due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rise of ambiguous employment is just one example of such change, and working out how trade unions should respond to this issue and what kind of industrial relations should be developed have become challenges not only in China and Japan, but also the rest of the world. Within this context, it has been extremely meaningful to have been able to exchange information and opinions on this topic of great interest from both sides today. We would like to thank JILAF for their cooperation during this time and look forward to continuing relations in the future.”
Then from JILAF’s side, Executive Director and Secretary General Motobayashi closed the seminar by expressing his gratitude to all the participants that day, and stating how the information discussed was very meaningful for both Japan and China, and how he hopes for both sides to make use of such information in their future activities.