Zenroren and Spring Struggle Joint Committee activists demand Canon use a part of einternal reservesf for workers
Members of the People's Spring Struggle Joint Committee and the Tokyo Spring Struggle Joint Committee on February 3 converged on the headquarters of Canon Inc. demanding that large corporations use a part of their ginternal reserves to increase wages, secure jobs, and pay more to suppliers, instead of increasing dividends to shareholders.
Canon's chairman has chaired the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren).
Separately, a similar action was staged at Shinagawa Station, which is near Canon Marketing Japan's headquarters.
About 150 workers took part in the action from several national federations as well as from industrial and regional federations in Tokyo and Kanagawa.
Participants distributed 5,300 portable tissue packets together with fliers calling for a part of corporate internal reserves to be used for workers' benefit and demanding an amendment to the Worker Dispatch Law.
On the early morning of February 3, 105 workers assembled at Canon headquarters in Tokyo's Ota Ward, located near the Tama River, which runs between Tokyo and Kanagawa, and stood at three gates holding flags and banners. They greeted workers arriving at the office calling on them to together demand that the company use a part of internal reserves for the benefit of workers so that domestic demand expand and lead to boosting the economy in general. They distributed 2,300 fliers with portable tissue packets at the three locations.
Odagawa Yoshikazu, secretary general of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) and secretary general of the People's Spring Struggle Joint Committee, took the microphone and explained that large corporations have amassed an extra 100 trillion yen in internal reserves during the past ten years while rapidly increasing the use of contingent workers and cutting wages. He stressed the need to force large corporations to use a part of their internal reserves to benefit workers and contribute to increasing domestic demand.
The secretary of the Ota Ward Trade Union Council, pointing out that the number of small factories has decreased to less than 4,000 from 9,000, said, gWe urge large corporations to use their internal reserves in the interest of workers and suppliers, which will certainly revitalize the Japanese economy as well as the local economy.h
In front of Shinagawa Station near Canon Marketing Japan and many other large corporate headquarters, 45 people from 14 labor organizations took part in the publicity action, and distributed 3,000 fliers with portable tissue packets in just 40 minutes.
Daikoku Sakuji, Zenroren president, spoke from a campaign car on behalf of the People's Spring Struggle Joint Committee.
He said that 18 months after the outbreak of an economic crisis, major exporters such as Canon and Toyota Motor Corp. are about to turn their balance sheets from red to black thanks to the economic recovery in China and Southeast Asian countries but that within the country, the living conditions of working people are not improving at all.
He pointed out that the number of contingent workers has increased dramatically, driving more than 10 million people into a position of the working poor earning less than two million yen a year. He criticized Nippon Keidanren for being totally rejecting workers' demand for wage increase and even seeking to hold down or freeze annual wage increase in the current wage talks.
Daikoku said, gThe task now is for us to win a wage increase for young workers, stop dismissals of workers and bullying of suppliers so that business as well as people's livelihoods is stabilized.h
He said that large corporations capitalized at more than a billion yen have amassed 242 trillion yen in internal reserves and that Canon has withdrawn 4.2 billion yen out of four trillion yen it has held in internal reserves to pay dividends to shareholders.
Daikoku called on workers to extend solidarity with Canon workers who are waging court struggles against dismissals at Canon plants throughout the country, saying, gLet us raise voices demanding the use of a part of the huge amount of funds amassed under the name of internal reserves for securing jobs and increasing wages and for defending small- and medium-sized businesses.