IIRA World Congress
A Discussion of Industrial Relations in the 21st Century
As already announced in various forms in past issues of this Bulletin, the 12th World Congress of the International Industrial Relations Association (IIRA) will be held from May 29 to June 2, in Tokyo. The Congress Organizing Committee has its office in the Japan Institute of Labour (JIL) and includes leading academics and people from industrial relations organizations, such as the Chairman of Rengo (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) and Nikkeiren (Japan Federation of Employers' Associations). The organizing work of the Congress has been carried out by co-organizers JIL and the Japan Industrial Relations Research Association, and officially supported by the Ministry of Labour, Rengo and Nikkeiren.
What is IIRA?
As the IIRA may be unfamiliar to some readers, we shall briefly explain its purpose. The IIRA is an international academic association founded in 1966 by three giant authorities on industrial relations at that time, such as Professor John T. Dunlop of the United States, Professor B.C. Roberts of the United Kingdom, and Professor Ichiro Nakayama of Japan, with its head office at the International Institute for Labour Studies of the ILO. Since its first world congress in Geneva in 1967, it has promoted the international study of industrial relations via world congresses every third year and regional conferences at appropriate times, together with the activities of individual organizations in the member states. As the IIRA was founded by three major countries' national associations American, British and Japanese it was immediately recognized as an international academic body drawing on leading experts in the field from all over the world. Following the three founders, the post of president was filled by Europeans: a distinguished French sociologist, Professor Jean Daniel Reynaud, Professor Friedrich Fuerstenberg from Germany, and Professor Roger Blanpain from Belgium. Then, after being taken on by an Australian and an American, the post returned to a European, Professor Tiziano Treu. The post of IIRA secretary is traditionally taken by ILO personnel. Thus, the IIRA has tended to give the impression that it is excessively Europe-orientated for a world academic society.
The IIRA today, however, composed as it is of national industrial relations' research associations from 38 countries, and with 45 institutional associate members and about 1,300 individual academics and practitioners from throughout the world, can truly claim to be an international academic association. That such an association should hold its world congress twice in Japan attests Japan's high standard in this field, and demonstrates to the world the importance of industrial relations in this country.
The Tokyo congress next year is expected to draw participants from 85 countries and regions, or about 800 participants if those at home are included. By January 1998, the deadline for proposed reports, we had received over 350 applications from more than 50 countries, making the Officers realize the high expectations placed on the congress, as well as the difficulty of selecting individual papers.
The 2000 World Congress
We have set the general theme of the 12th World Congress as "Global Integration and Challenges for Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management in the 21st Century," to cover discussion of the following five sub-themes:
|(1)||Exploring Trends in Employment Relations and New Approaches to Work in the 21st Century;|
|(2)||The Impact of Globalization on National and Regional Systems of Industrial Relations and Employment Relations;|
|(3)||Changing Patterns of Employee and Union Participation: Toward New Systems of Industrial Relations?;|
|(4)||Search for Flexibility, Fairness and Prosperity: Alternative Employment Policies in the 21st Century; and|
|(5)||Asia in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities in Work and Labor.|
For each theme there will be plenary sessions, at which individual members will give reports and participate in discussions, and workshops for smaller groups. There will also be many special seminars in which a large number of study groups will participate.
At the end of the 20th century many industrialized countries are seeing drastic and fundamental changes in employment and industrial relations. In Japan, the aging of society, the declining birthrate, the "hollowing" of industry, and the information revolution brought about by the development of electronic technology are bringing unprecedented changes in the fields of employment and labor, a situation shared by other industrialized countries. To enable Japan's economy to recover and regain its competitiveness in a globalized economy, it is vital to explore, by means of international comparisons, which problems and solutions are shared with other countries. In turn, this will clarify the problems and policy measures unique to our own country. In line with this, the coming congress will divide the tasks facing the labor sector in the coming century into five categories, and through discussion with specialists from all over the world, determine which problems are shared.
From the beginning of the Asian crisis and against a background of worldwide economic recession, labor markets and changes in industrial relations in the region have become central concerns of researchers and practitioners. This is why the congress is to treat labor issues in Asia as one of its five sub-themes.
We believe that this congress, in which will participate many of the first class experts from around the world, will provide a unique opportunity, not only for researchers, but also for those concerned with labor matters all over the world. The congress languages will be Japanese, English, and Spanish, with simultaneous interpretation. We hope that readers of this Bulletin will be encouraged to attend the congress.
In addition to the Plenary Sessions and Workshops where subjects under the five sub-themes shown on page 11 will be discussed, 13 special seminars will take place, focusing on topics as follows.
For further information please visit our web site at http://www.jil.go.jp/jil/iira12th, where on-line registration is also available.
|Contact||IIRA 12th World Congress Secretariat
c/o The Japan Institute of Labour
4-8-23, Kamishakujii Nerima-ku, Tokyo 177-8502, Japan
Tel: +81-3-5991-5195 Fax: +81-3-3594-1115 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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