News on the second “Day for Decent Work”
Eradicate working poor and ensure quality jobs for every worker to live a stable life free of anxieties
The second “Day for Decent Work” promoted by the National Confederation (Zenroren) was held on October 15 in 31 prefectures. In Tokyo, Zenroren activists held a street campaign near Otsuka station.
Zenroren Vice President NEMOTO Takashi said, “More than 10 million people earn an annual income of less than two million yen. Citing a temporary agency worker, who complained that he had been denied the renewal of his contract just because he asked the employer to pay him for his overtime work, Nemoto said, “Such an employment practice cannot be approved. We will work to create a society in which every worker, full-time and contingent alike can receive equal pay and in which the job market is stable.” Referring to the Worker Dispatch Law, he called for the Diet to begin discussing the bill to revise the law in response to the actual needs of temporary agency workers and enact it at an early date.”
The National Federation of Consumers’ Cooperatives Workers’ Unions (Seikyororen) Vice President KITAGUCHI Akiyo took the microphone to call for a minimum wage increase and equal treatment of contingent workers. She pointed out that discrimination against women is behind discrimination in employment against part-time workers, and that the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the ILO have repeatedly said that women workers in Japan are too low-paid and have fewer opportunities to be elected as Diet members or promoted to managerial positions. She called on passers-by to join the union to fight together.
GO Toshiko, vice president of the Japan Federation of Women’s Organizations (Fudanren), spoke about the tent city set up two years ago for those who lost jobs and places to live at the same time. She said that the situation remains unchanged from two years ago. She said, “It is often said that since women have a secondary role in the household economy, they should be given many options. But 70 percent of working women quit jobs to give birth. When they try to begin to find a job again, they find it almost impossible to find a full-time position. School graduates are also facing similar situations, increasing social uncertainties.”
“Longer working hours and excessive workloads are forced on full-time regular workers. The number of full-time workers who commit suicide or who are obliged to take a long leave of absence is increasing. Let us struggle to improve the way we work and ensure that everyone can work with human dignity,” she added.
NAKANO Tomo, deputy secretary of the National Union of Welfare and Childcare Workers (Fukushi-hoikuro), said, “Welfare and nursing care services are replacing more full-time workers with contingency workers. It is very difficult now to become a full-time home-care worker.” She stressed that wages are so low at nursing care facilities and after-school day-care centers that their workers are unable to get married. This makes male workers quit after marriage. We cannot provide quality services at workplaces where the turnover rate is high.” She also said, “If home-care workers change every day, users will feel uneasy. We must fight to win wages and working conditions in which workers can continue to work by enhancing their professional skills.”
YAMADA Shingo, deputy secretary of the Tokyo Metropolitan Youth Union, spoke about its experience in settling a dispute over unpaid overtime work at the Sukiya restaurant chain. He criticized the chairman of the Zensho Group, the operator of Sukiya, for expanding poverty at his group company while expressing the determination to help eliminate hunger and poverty from the world. He said, “I want you to know how inhumane it is for a company to refuse to pay for overtime work, offer workers wages lower than the minimum wage, and deny workers the right to paid holidays. Let us eliminate illegal labor practices in our local communities!”
The third “Day for Decent Work” will be held on November 19.