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Zenroren president calls for united action against poverty

In the opening statement on behalf of the Executive Committee of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), President Ban’nai Mitsuo emphasized the importance of increasing united action on the issue of poverty.

He began his statement by expressing hope for further progress to be achieved in the talks aimed at settling the former Japanese National Railway workers’ struggle against the 1987 unfair dismissals linked to the privatization and break-up of the JNR.

On the current political situation, Ban’nai said, “Nineteen years have past since Zenroren was founded in 1989. We are facing a new political situation that raises a possibility for us to reflect the public’s voices and demands in government policies, in particular regarding the minimum wage, the use of temporary workers, and the newly introduced health insurance system that discriminates against the elderly aged 75 and over.”

“It is our task to take advantage of this progressive change in order to make further progress in the struggle to eradicate poverty. If we seize it as opportunity in the present situation, we will be able to make progress in the united effort to eradicate poverty and social disparities as our main task.”

Ban’nai called for joint struggle to be developed for the common tasks in solidarity with other national federations, including the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) and the National Trade Union Council (Zenrokyo), as well as workers and various democratic and citizens’ organizations by putting minor differences aside.

Referring to the struggle to defend the Japanese Constitution from adverse revision, Ban’nai called on all Zenroren members to do their utmost over the next two years to win over a majority of the people to defending the Japanese Constitution so that it can truly guide our society and to creating the steadfast trend especially in the labor front against adverse revision of the Constitution.

Ban’nai concluded the opening speech by stating, “More and more people have high expectations for the trade union movement in opposition to the harsh condition of employment. The actual situation shows that we can achieve progress if we fight. The task now is for us to build a large and strong trade union movement by increasing union memberships and increasing the effort to organize the unorganized. These are essential for the struggle to eradicate poverty and economic inequalities and defend peace. Let’s pledge together to do all we can, so that next year, we will mark the 20th anniversary of Zenroren with the largest membership ever.”

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