The second meeting of the Asia-Pacific region’s trade unions of Japanese pharmaceuticals multinational, Takeda, met in Tokyo on 15 November 2018. IndustriALL Global Union affiliates from Japan, Indonesia, Korea and the Philippines constituted this meeting of the global network committee.
Takeda union representatives from Europe also joined the meeting as observers.
The Japanese Takeda Pharmaceutical Workers Union (TWU) takes a leading role in coordinating the network, alongside IndustriALL JAF, an affiliate that brings together Japanese unions in the chemical, energy, paper and other sectors. This physical meeting was held at the company’s global headquarters.
As Takeda continues to globalize its business operations, unions are developing an international network structure in order to facilitate information exchange between workers from the different countries.
The meeting assessed other IndustriALL company networks, and the Takeda labour-management relations in each country, under the different national contexts and labour legislation. The meeting’s consensus position was clear that dialogue must be supported in each country in order to protect every employee’s right to join a union, and to maintain and improve working conditions.
TWU President Masato Shinohara, chairing the meeting, stated:
“We will continue to exchange our opinions at the global level through this network system and also work toward a further reinforcement of our global network.”
In Japan, workers at Takeda are covered by a union shop agreement which requires all workers to be union members. The Japanese union clarified that it will support unions in other countries at Takeda where the local management does not respect the union.
Problems were reported to the meeting from Indonesia, where the union complains of disrespect of the collective agreement by management. Similar problems were reported from South Korea, where labour relations are bad at Takeda, and the union feels they are treated with a lack of integrity by management. In the Philippines, the union reported that unfair labour practice provoked a seven-day strike that ended with a settlement. The European Works Council head informed the meeting that the Takeda management has not been collaborative in recent years.
IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary, Kemal Özkan, stated:
“Unity is our strength. Through building company trade union networks at market-leading multinationals, we combine our efforts to ensure rights and working conditions are improved everywhere. We commend the TWU for its great work to bring us together at Takeda. Our commitment to this work is clear.”
Takeda focusses efforts on research and development of medicines infour therapeutic areas: Oncology, Gastroenterology, Neuroscience and Rare Diseases. On 8 January 2019, the company completed its US$62 billion acquisition of Shire which makes the combined company a global market leader in the biopharmaceutical industry. Now Takeda/Shire is ranked tenth in the world in terms of revenue amongst drug makers.