Discussion confirms Zenroren’s important role
In the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) 23rd Regular Convention, many delegates from industrial and local unions spoke about their struggles. These speeches confirmed that Zenroren is plays a key role both in local communities as well as in workplaces and that its existence has received greater public attention.
Struggles against crisis of people’s living conditions and revision of the Japanese Constitution
Pointing out that workers are suffering from the rising cost of fuels and soaring prices of daily necessaries, some delegates emphasized that in order to solve these hardships, Zenroren should call for a nationwide struggle in preparation for the 2009 Spring Struggle in order to win wage increases.
Many local and industrial unions’ delegates spoke about their experiences to develop the public opinion in favor of the Japanese Constitution, particularly its Article 9.
Four delegates from local and industrial unions spoke about their efforts to collect signatures in support of the signature campaign calling for the defense of the Constitution.
Citing the Nagoya High Court ruling that the Self-Defense Force mission in Iraq is in violation of the Constitution, a delegate from Aichi Prefecture called on participants to hold as many study meetings as possible.
A delegate from Okinawa Prefecture explained the development of the struggle opposing a new U.S. base construction. As a result of the June prefectural assembly election, the opposition controlled the prefectural assembly and adopted a resolution opposing the construction of the new U.S. base in the Henoko district of Nago City.
Struggles against government’s harsh policy and for better communities
During these two years since the previous Zenroren Regular Convention, the medical workers’ union and the welfare and nursing-care workers’ union have made progress in the movement to increase the number of nurses and doctors and improve working conditions at nursing care facilities. The taxi drivers’ union is increasing their action demanding that the government revoke deregulation policy in the taxicab industry.
Local federations carried out actions to attract people’s attention to joint efforts to protect public services including public hospitals and stop local governments’ ‘structural reform’ schemes, including cutbacks in welfare and education.
Prefectural federations in Niigata, Ishikawa, and Miyagi, which were hit by earthquakes between 2006 and 2008, reported about their aid activities as well as the current situations.
Struggles for protecting workers’ rights and eradicating the working poor
Regarding the struggle to protect workers’ basic rights, many delegates emphasized the urgency of the need to get the Worker Dispatch Law revised and the importance of increasing the effort to organize contingent workers.
A delegate from Tokyo called on participants to do their utmost to change the current law into a temporary workers protection law.
Four delegates from industrial and local unions spoke about their activities to organize contingent workers in places of work as well as local communities.
As for the movement to eradicate the working poor, many speakers said that they took part in various activities to achieve an increase in the minimum wage. Some delegates also talked about the movement to urge local governments to enact the ordinance to secure the minimum standards of working conditions on public contract.
Delegates shared their two years of experiences of organization buildup and views on the Zenroren proposal for the establishment of a fund for organizational buildup activities.
Many delegates pointed out that organization buildup is the fundamental activity of trade unions striving to realize workers’ demands. ― Zenroren, August 15, 2008