The Covid-19 pandemic has made it necessary for online web conferencing tools to replace physical meetings. The UNI Apro secretariat met UNI Apro President Minao Noda for the first time online since his last visit to the Singapore office in January.

UNI Apro Regional Secretary Rajendra Acharya started the session with an overview of the current situation. Many workers are now returning to work but they are still facing the risks of being infected. This is mitigated through union efforts everywhere to work on return to work guidelines in consultation with employers and governments.

At the moment, even though the trade union movement is talking about a new normal, it does not seem very positive for the labour movement in many countries in Asia. This is due to the relative strength of a country’s financial position. It is observed that many low and middle-income countries would depend on International Financial Institutions for help in developing economic stimulus packages. However, the IFIs and many governments are not developing policies and packages that are pro-labour. Unions face an uphill task to seek policies favourable for workers especially in countries which are driven by a large informal sector.  

UNI Apro President Noda conveys his greetings to the staff members attending the online meeting. He shared his observations that this pandemic crisis is causing the general labour movement to question the value and relevance of trade unions. Due to the current situation where face to face meeting is almost impossible, he encouraged the staff to “connect the minds” with our affiliates using IT tools to maintain the relationship and listen to their concerns in these trying times.  

President Noda also expresses his appreciation for Brother Satoshi Tamai for all his contribution to UNI Apro since November 2013 as the Director for Organising and Campaigns. Brother Toshi will be finishing his term in UNI Apro by the end of June and will return back to his home union at UA ZENSEN, Japan when the travel situation permits.     

The meeting proceeded with the staff sharing the various sectors updates from ICTS, Finance, Commerce, Post & Logistics, Graphical and Packaging, MEI, Gaming, Care, Youth, Women, Professionals and Managers, and several country updates from Japan, Indonesia, Korea, and the Philippines.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic challenges, some positive news of new affiliations and collective bargaining wins were reported. Most of the planned physical meeting that were supposed to be held in the region are now all postponed or pending confirmation of actual dates for an online meeting while organising initiatives for several sectors are being discussed.

President Noda expresses his appreciation for the efforts to continue the work during the pandemic and looks forward to meeting everyone in person in future when the situation allows. 

UNI Asia & Pacific