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Now is the Time to Struggle!!
Zenroren Held its 27th Regular Convention

Zenroren held the 27th Regular Convention on 27-29 July in Tokyo. More than 500 union members and activists participated in the Convention and took part in the discussion. The Convention adopted an action program for the next two years and confirmed the slogan of the Convention: “Stop the move to turn Japan into a country that wages war; put an end to society in which workers are made disposable; build a 1.5 million-strong Zenroren as a stronghold of the struggle”. Delegates were determined to demand that the Abe administration step down as early as possible and fight by promoting cooperation with broader sector of the people and workers. The Convention also elected the new leadership in the last day of the Convention. In this year, Zenroren celebrates the 25th anniversary of its founding.

Declaration of the Zenroren 27th Convention
July 29, 2014

The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) marks the 25th anniversary of its founding. Under the slogan: “Let us now join forces in the fight for a bright and hopeful future,” it has always been with workers in continuing the struggle to achieve livelihoods with dignity for all workers, never to succumb to any adversities and attacks.

Prime Minister ABE Shinzo’s cabinet has decided to allow the country to use the right to collective self-defense, a move that may well be described as a coup to adversely revise the Constitution to turn Japan into a country that can wage war.

In a move to turn Japan into the easiest place for companies to do business, the government has given large corporations tax cuts and other benefits and is moving toward enabling employers to force workers to work overtime without pay, introducing a system of hiring regular full-time workers on limited terms, and adversely revising the Worker Dispatch Law. In addition to these labor law “reforms”, it is adding to the recklessness by increasing the consumption (sales) tax rate and carrying out cutbacks in social security programs. Under these circumstances expectations are running high among many workers and the general public for Zenroren to play its role as a national trade union center. This was exactly what the Zenroren 27th Convention was about.

The Zenroren Convention has set the following three immediate objectives: (1) Collect 5 million signatures in support of Zenroren’s petition for “Let the Constitution Guide” as part of the campaign to defend the Constitution from the growing moves to adversely revise the Constitution, including interpretational changes, legislative changes, and textual changes; (2) Carry on the Great Zenroren Efforts to Makes Use of the Constitution to Build a Society in which everyone can live peacefully without fear; and (3) Increase the effort to build up the organization of Zenroren in conjunction with the struggle for the various demands to pave the way for achieving a 1.5 million-strong Zenroren and the effort to bring up young activists. In autumn, Zenroren will concentrate on the campaign to stop the government attempt to remake Japan into a country that wages war and to oppose the Abe administration’s adverse labor reform. We will organize a “Constitution Caravan” to help increase criticism of its misgovernment that disregards the interests of workers and the general public with a view to building up a popular consensus to press the Abe administration to step down.

In the discussion, delegates shared grassroots information about their struggles in workplaces as well as local communities, for the immediate needs of the workers. They called for the Spring Struggle to hold on to a pay raise by making it a matter of course to raise the basic wages. They called for a national uniform minimum wage to be established at 1,000 yen (approx. 10 US dollars) per hour and legislation requiring public contractors to hire workers for certain levels of wages. They called for the elimination of “black companies” (which are reaping maximum profits by forcing workers for less in adequate working conditions). They called for an increased struggle to stop the adverse labor reforms, including adverse revision of the worker dispatch law. They called for contingent (casual) workers to be organized and for their treatment to be improved. They called for a struggle against cutbacks in the health care programs, the nursing services for the elderly, and other social programs, and against cuts in pension benefits and the disintegration of social services. They called for a more effective coalition involving all strata of the people in opposition to nuclear power, the consumption tax, and TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement). They called for opposition to Prime Minister Abe’s education reform policy. They called for stepping up the movement for the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty through the struggle against the construction of a new US Marine Corps base off the coast of the Henoko district of Nago City (in Okinawa) and against the spread of Osprey training areas throughout the country. They called for opposition to dismissals as part of company restructuring and for complete resolution of labor disputes. They called for a great movement for Zenroren organization buildup through all-out efforts. They called for creative activities among young workers. They called for victories in the upcoming elections, including the gubernatorial election in Okinawa (in November) and the simultaneous local elections (next spring) so that we will be able to win democratic political change.

Now is the time to struggle!

Responding to the growing shouts, “Down with the Abe administration!”, Zenroren will demand that the Abe administration step down as early as possible. Holding high the slogan of this convention: “Stop the move to turn Japan into a country that wages war; put an end to society in which workers are made disposable; build a 1.5 million-strong Zenroren as the stronghold of the struggle; increase the struggle to defend and further develop peace and democracy, to protect the jobs and living conditions of workers, and to defend the basic labor rights, we are determined to fight by promoting cooperation on agreed demands with the broader sectors of the people and workers.

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