6th UNI Apro East Asia Affiliates Forum, 26-27 October, Taipei
"Achieving Inclusive Growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution"
The 6th UNI Apro East Asia Affiliates Forum was held successfully in Taipei on 26 and 27 October 2017. This year’s forum was hosted by the Chunghwa Telecom Workers’ Union (CTWU) with the support of Chunghwa Postal Workers’ Union (CPWU) and Taiwan Public Television Service Foundation Enterprise Union (TPTSEU). The 2-day forum, which examined the theme of “Achieving Inclusive Growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, involved more than 110 participants from UNI Apro affiliates in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea as well as more than 20 guests from Taiwan union federations, the Ministry of Labour, academia, and management representatives from Chunghwa Telecom.
The participants were welcomed by Bro. Horng, Shiow-Long, President of CTWU, Bro Chang, Shih-Chieh, Chairman of TPTSEU, and Bro Cheng, Kuang-ming, President of CPWU. The forum was also honored to have the presence of both Mr. Lung-Yu Lin, Assistant Director General of Department of General Planning, Ministry of Labour, Taiwan, and Mr. Cheng, Yu, the Chairman and CEO of Chunghwa Telecom, in giving a warm welcome to the participants. Regional Secretary of UNI Apro, Christopher Ng, gave the fraternal greetings followed by solidarity greetings offered by Sister Cheung Lai Ha (UNI HKLC), Brother Akihiko Matsuura (UNI LCJ), and Brother Lee Yun-Kyung (UNI KLC).
Many affiliates, fresh from their earlier participation at the UNI Apro joint sector conferences held in Kuala Lumpur and Fukushima, were eager to contribute to the discussion during the forum proper. Affiliates from the postal sector were warmed up by the 15th UNI Apro East Asian Postal Unions Forum that took place one day earlier, where the President of Chunghwa Post, Mr. Chen Shian-Juh, spoke about how Chunghwa Post is shaping its future strategy in response to the changing characteristics of postal services. One key issue on the prevention of occupational accidents and death from overwork in the postal industry was specially chosen for discussion in recognition of the Korean Postal Workers’ Union’s (KPWU) struggle to improve working conditions for their postal workers.
Overall, there was much sharing of experiences and case studies especially on the impact of digitalization on employment and jobs, and the challenges of organising and representing workers in the new digital economy, which stimulated active discussion between the affiliates and observers. The penultimate panel looked at the issue of the fourth industrial revolution taking place in the Asian context. The Regional Secretary, Christopher Ng, urged the affiliates to adopt a pre-emptive approach towards improving the long term employability of workers and facilitating greater mobility of labour, and to remain open to explore ideas such as the Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) that is being revived as a response to forthcoming social and economic challenges.
The forum’s capstone saw the adoption of two solidarity statements in support of our affiliates’ struggle to re-introduce employees’ rights to representation and collective bargaining in Hong Kong, and the struggle to protect the human rights and freedom of speech of media union members in Korea. A final joint statement was collectively adopted by all affiliates which calls upon businesses and unions to engage in more dialogues aimed at developing strategic responses to the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution.
The affiliates also agreed to hold the next UNI Apro East Asia Affiliates Forum in Japan in 2018.