In coordination and cooperation with its national center JTUC-RENGO, the ALL-Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers Union (JICHIRO), affiliated to PSI, has been supporting the democratic transition process in Myanmar by carrying out capacity building activities with Burmese trade unions especially in the public service sector.
As a result of the still ongoing transition in Myanmar (the military junta rule started in 1962 and came to an end in 2011), the Government of National League for Democracy (NLD) is planning to liberalize services and privatize state-owned enterprises and public transport.
Nurses congress in Myanmar, 17-18 December 2016, to which JICHIRO contributed providing capacity building workshops amongst others.
At the end of March 2017, the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM) President Maung Maung reached out to JICHIRO’s President Atsushi Kawamoto expressing concern about the impact of privatization on Burmese workers and citizens. He stressed the importance to hold labour-management discussions in advance and sought the assistance of JTUC-RENGO’s affiliated unions - including JICHIRO - to analyse case studies of privatization in Japan in view to build knowledge and do an impact assessment, especially of the privatization of Japanese municipal services in Japan.
President Kawamoto accepted this request. As a result, JICHIRO prepared an analysis of the impact of six cases of privatization that occurred in Japan in municipal services in areas such as waste management, school meals provision, health care, nursing care facilities, public transport and water services. The cases were translated into Burmese and shared with the CTUM at its Yangon Region conference held in Yangon on May 1st.
In July 2017, the CTUM will now hold a seminar to raise awareness on the potential impact of privatization for its affiliated trade unions and to build capacity to effectively raise concerns with cabinet members of the Yangon Region and develop a critical view of the potential dangers of the privatization of public services in the delicate institutional transition to democracy in Myanmar. JICHIRO will take part and present the Japanese experience.
JICHIRO-organized workshop on union organizing and two health and safety seminars for Burmese cleaning workers.
As part of its cooperation and solidarity activities, JICHIRO has also carried out a workshop on union organizing for cleaning workers, and two health and safety seminars for cleaning workers and nurses as well as for mine workers and factory workers in Myanmar. JICHIRO has also provided support for trade union training and workplace improvements for nurses and midwives, support for garment factory workers who were dismissed due to the suppression of trade unions, and has promoted acceptance of ITUC-AP Myanmar liaison office personnel into cleaning workplaces, amongst others.
JICHIRO will continue to support the efforts to organize and strengthen Myanmar’s public service sector workers unions.
Article prepared with the contribution of JICHIRO