UNI Apro is pleased to present, “Growing Smart Partnership: The AEON Labor Management Initiative”, that will serve as the latest reference for affiliates in the Asia and Pacific region committed to building Smart Partnership in their important work of growing and sustaining the union and the company.


       Some selected findings of the smart partnership advantage in six AEON companies

This report was first commissioned at the beginning of 2019 as a research study to highlight the AEON Global Framework Agreement as a good model to facilitate smart partnership to grow the company and the trade union.

The basis of the research stems from UNI Apro’s belief that the model of constructive labour-management relations through sincere and genuine dialogue strategy, based on the concept of true social partnership to adjust to the global competitive challenge. It will also require all the parties, including trade unions, to be realistic in their response to the globalisation challenges.

The lead author was Professor Melissa R. Serrano, Director of the Centre for Labour Justice and the Centre for Labour and Grassroots Initiatives, School of Labour and Industrial Relations in the University of the Philippines, who went on a six-country visit where AEON has established their operations, to collect information and interviewed key union and management personnel. 

 After nearly ten months of data collection and writing, Prof. Melissa presented her preliminary findings at the 5th UNI Apro Regional Conference. The results contributed to the motion: “UNI Apro has advanced the “Partnership Labour-Management Relations” as the guide for sustaining the social dialogue process and engaging industry and governments on building up a more inclusive, balanced and sustainable economy at the national, sub-regional and regional levels.”

Prof. Melissa Serrano at the 5th UNI Apro Regional Conference

Written in a style balanced between academic rigor and accessibility, the report takes the reader on a journey to understand how Asia’s number one multinational retail giant, AEON, embraced the Smart Partnership concept as part of its “People First” principle, that helped drive and sustain the company’s leading position in the fast changing and highly competitive retail industry.

The case studies, drawn from AEON stores in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, and Vietnam, paint an illustrative picture on how Smart Partnership is implemented across different legal and cultural context. It also does not shy away from addressing the challenges that impedes the concept.

UNI Apro Regional Secretary Rajendra Acharya, said, “The  report was completed in June 2020, as the final validation by all the stakeholders involved was inevitably delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I am now very pleased to share with everyone the results of this report. Each of the AEON management and the AEON union leaders and members – should be very proud of themselves. The report cannot happen without their years of commitment and constant belief that Smart Partnership can work.

We dedicate the release of this report to all the commerce workers who proved themselves as Essential Workers during the pandemic. I also strongly believe that the report will have value beyond the Commerce sector, and affiliates in other sectors can also benefit.”

The report is available for download. For hardcopies, please send request to the UNI Apro Regional Secretary at rajendra.acharya@uniglobalunion.org