Zenroren 26th National Convention
July 29-31, Yokohama
Zenroren Action Plan 2012-2013(Excerpt)
Part I: Fierce confrontation continues -- Zenrorenfs struggle in the first half of the 2010s
We fight for change away from society that forces workers to pay the price of an economic crisis
The global recession that started from the collapse of the Lehman Brothers has been followed by European debt crises, raising concern that another global recession might come. Casino capitalism continues to be a source of the crisis.
Huge amounts of national bonds have been issued ostensibly with the aim of bailing out financial institutions and large corporations with financial difficulty. Tax increases and cutbacks in social services have been imposed under the pretext of overcoming the debt crisis. But this has weakened the redistribution of income, igniting another debt crisis or economic crisis. A vicious circle around the present crisis is what we are witnessing today.
Japan has experienced a similar vicious circle since economic bubbles burst in the early 1990s, throwing working people into a crisis. Since the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) launched the concept of geNew Japanese Style of Managementf for a New Erah in 1995, a series of adverse revisions of labor laws have accelerated the vicious circle.
The task now is to pay attention to these problems and to fulfill Zenrorenfs responsibility and role in fighting to stop the poverty and inequality widening. To fulfill these tasks, we confirm the need for the further organizational buildup of Zenroren.
Unionsf efforts to help in the earliest possible post-March 11 disaster reconstruction
A devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011 and a subsequent nuclear disaster brought to light how the neoliberal gstructural reformh policy has ended up in failure after giving economic growth priority, forcing local governments to accept risks of putting economic efficiency, and curtailing public services.
More than a year after the massive disaster, the government has given the green light to the restart of nuclear reactors without establishing the cause of the nuclear disaster. Measures to help improve living conditions of people who are forced to endure a prolonged evacuation are inadequate. A delay in taking the necessary measures to help in job creation and the restart of business has further sharpened contradictions only to increase public distrust in government policies that disregard peoplefs livelihoods and public opinion. The imposition of the so-called gcreative post-disaster reconstructionh policy, which promotes reconstruction to provide business opportunities for large corporations, is forcing hardships on many survivors of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
At the same time, with the awareness that we cannot afford to enjoy the way of life we had before March 11, 2011, a movement is spreading throughout the country to call for a sustainable society that is disaster resistant, a departure from a society that puts emphasis on economic efficiency, and a review of mass consumption of energy prompted by the concept that gthe human race cannot coexist with nuclear power.h
We will build up solidarity and common action with these movements and promote union efforts
For advancing nationwide common action against returning to gstructural reformh policy
The government and business leaders are fearful of change in peoplefs political awareness. Describing the post-March 11 economic situation as gcrisis in crisish, they are cutting social services and urging the people to assume responsibility for their own welfare and accept mass tax increases. They are also intent on carrying out gstructural reformh policies that will make society more competitive by outsourcing public services to the private sector and easing regulation.
As part of the gstructural reformh plans, the government is proposing a consumption tax increase and cutbacks in social services at the same time, the reopening of nuclear reactors and deregulation in anticipation of Japanfs participation in the gTrans-Pacific Partnershiph free trade negotiations, and the deepening of postal privatization.
Peoplefs opposition to the gstructural reformh policy is increasing. Peoplefs counter-offensive is also unfolding.
We will continue to hold fast to opposition to the gstructural reformh policy, step up dialogue with the broader sections of the people who need secure and safe society, and achieve the multilayer development of joint struggle on common demands. This is the way we pursue an end of the gstructural reformh policy.
Let the Constitution guide the movement for a Japan that puts emphasis on jobs and social services
The present economic and fiscal crisis is destroying the labor market and peoplefs livelihoods. It has widened income inequality and forced more and more people out of work, impoverishing a large number of people. The governmentfs policy is putting the implementation of the so-called gstructural reformh policies before the post-disaster reconstruction. This in turn puts the disaster victims as well as affected communities in great hardships and hampers workersf effort to find jobs. In all this, workers are denied decent work and social services they need.
By contrast, the structure to maintain the preferential treatment of a handful of large corporations and wealthy people is preserved and even strengthened. It is a structure to guarantee them more windfall wealth. The ruling Democratic Party and the opposition Liberal Democratic and New Komeito parties met behind closed doors to discuss amending a bill to reform social services and taxation as a set. They agreed that the bill to gpromote social security system reformh should include a provision to promote mutual help among family members and among people in general for self-reliance. They are putting greater emphasis on the principle of self-responsibility reflecting the direction of reform.
Zenroren, as a national trade union center, has an important role to play in organizing a movement of workers in opposition to these moves and work to help develop it into a national movement.
With this task in mind, we will seek for a society that can secure stable quality jobs for all workers, a society without working poor or karoshi (death from overwork) carrying out the struggle to restore jobs and employment rules that have been destroyed amid an economic crisis, to reestablish and improve social services, and to reconstruct regional economies and public services. We base these struggles on the Constitution.
We will maintain the unionfs independence from capital and from any political party, further develop common action to achieve agreed demands and strive to increase the movement and joint action for a Japan that puts employment and social services at the center.
Part IV: The basic direction of the movement over the next two years
We organize united efforts to make our society safe and anxiety-free
(1) Considering the present situation surrounding the people, and workers in particular, and the present stage of development of the movement that we began two years ago and the discussion we had at the 2011 National Forum, we call for united efforts to be developed over the next two years to achieve a safe and anxiety-free society, focusing on the following two main activities:
One: Make clear the active role of the union movement in the struggle to achieve the common demand of the people for breaking away from Japanese society that puts emphasis on protecting the interest of large corporations and on enhancing economic efficiency.
Two: Address the g4 challengesh that discussed at the 2011 National Forum: 1) Make the hardships facing the working people visible; 2) Help improve the conditions of workers in difficulty; 3) Work to help achieve a society in which everyone can work and live with human dignity; and 4) Carry out dialogue and joint efforts with a broad sections of workers.
Zenroren will begin discussing the revision of its basic document gGoals and outlookh so that it can complete at the next Zenroren Convention in 2014.
(2) Concerning the first activity, Zenroren Campaign will make efforts to carry out the joint effort to achieve a gzero nuclear power Japanh as an immediate task. We will participate in the National Liaison Council for Eliminating Nuclear Power Plants and play a key role in advancing it as a nationwide movement while promoting gstudy on nuclear powerh in workplaces and local communities.
Zenroren will increase its activities to demand that large corporations in the auto, electronics and other industries fulfill their corporate social responsibility. Along with the struggle against Japanfs participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, it will work to build up joint action in local communities calling for democratic control over big business and in opposition to transfers of production to other countries and corporate restructuring through job cuts.
Zenroren will strive to advance common action to oppose shifting the heavy burden of taxes, including the consumption tax, onto ordinary working people and demand large corporations and the wealthy pay taxes according to their ability to pay. In this campaign, we attach importance to the effort to expose huge amounts of internal reserves that large corporations have amassed and develop a year-around movement to demand that they use a part of them for the benefit of society and people, and promote common action toward large corporations with small- and medium-sized firms, their business organizations, agricultural organizations and civic organizations.
Zenroren is in solidarity with global efforts in the movement for stronger control over tyrannical activities of multinational corporations and cooperate with foreign unions in keeping eyes on multinational corporations and surveying their activities.
(3) Concerning the second activity in the Zenroren campaign, we will give substance to the gFour Challengesh as follows so that we can promote the movement on issues affecting the workers by addressing the movement to realize their demands and the organizational build-up at the same time.
Challenge 1 (Concerning the effort to make the actual conditions of the workers and the people in general visible): We will make known the actual employment situation as well as the living conditions of the survivors in disaster-hit areas of northeastern Japan and the job market for young people, including new graduates.
Challenge 2 (Concerning improvements in the conditions of most needy working people): We will focus on the struggle to raise the minimum wage to 1,000 yen per hour or more everywhere in the country and the measures that will help bottom up workersf wages, organize a nationwide campaign to win a local public contract ordinance, increase the effort to achieve job security and equal treatment of casual workers, intensify struggles to end labor disputes and stop the violations of workersf rights.
Challenge 3 (Concerning institutional improvements in society to enable people to work and live with human dignity): We demand that the government take measures to help stabilize the employment and create jobs. We will put up a struggle for establishing institutions to improve and expand social services and reduce householdsf cost of education and other positive measures. We will also work to put an end to excessively long hours of work and excessive workloads.
We will also be involved in the movement to oppose deregulation and privatization of public services, which continue to undermine the safety and security of society and demand the restoration of stronger regulations.
Challenge 4 (Concerning dialogue and cooperation with the broad sections of the workers and people in general): We attach importance to bring together all grassroots movements to heighten public awareness through publicity campaigning.
We will put emphasis on the pursuit of common actions to advance the demands. We will increase our union strength and conditions for organizing a 200,000-strong mobilization to national action when it is necessary to do so.
Implementation of the new gmidterm planh to Zenrorenfs organizational build-up
(1) We reaffirm the founding objectives of Zenroren to grow into a gparent body capable of putting all workers together to become an organization that can wield influence on society.
In line with the gmidterm organizational build-up planh Zenroren will begin a new effort to build a 1.5 million-strong federation. In the first two years of the period up to the next Convention, we will focus on reversing the declining trend toward a net increase in the membership in close cooperation with industrial federations and regional federations. We will work to achieve the goal as early as possible.
(2) All Zenroren affiliates will confirm a net increase in their memberships. Zenroren as well as its member federations will draw up build-up their plans with concrete numbers to be achieved year by year.
All Zenroren unions will have their build-up plans with numerical targets in order to achieve a net increase of more than 10 percent in the membership by organizing more than 100,000 new members within the existing organizations.
Federations will cooperate with each other in each region in linking themselves with the Zenroren movement for a safe and secure society to reach out to workers, particularly contingent workers, women and youth, who are in the most disadvantaged positions, and lead to the unionsf membership growth.
(3) We will utilize the special account for the promotion of organization build-up to rebuild regional union organizations in the disaster-hit areas, carry out an all-out operation focusing on particular sectors or districts and train young activists to carry on the Zenroren movement.
Rebuild the movement to defend the Constitution and abrogate the Japan-US Security Treaty
(1) We will stop the moves to adversely revise the Constitution and intensify efforts to let the Constitution guide our life and workplace.
We will consider launching a signature collection drive in defense of the Constitution and work to revitalize the Joint Center for the Constitution.
(2) We work to increase participants in the movement demanding the removal of the US military bases and facilities from Japan and opposing distribution and increase in the functions of US bases. This struggle includes efforts to demand the abrogation of the Japan-US secret agreements concerning nuclear weapons, the unconditional close down of the US Futenma base, and opposition to the plan to construct new US bases in the Henoko district of Nago City, Okinawa and on Tokunoshima Island.
(3) We will strengthen the movement for a gworld without nuclear weaponsh in Japan while increasing common action between la bor unions.
We will oppose the policy of depending on nuclear weapons, which is based on gnuclear umbrellah and gnuclear deterrenth policies.
Part V: Main agenda items and the movement to be addressed from workplaces and local communities
1. Fight against dismissals and unemployment and for stable employment
2. Demand quality employment with improved wages and working hours
3. Oppose the social security and tax reforms and Japanfs participation in TPP talks and strive to improve social services and realize a socioeconomic society governed by rules
4. Stop the moves to adversely revise the Constitution, ban nuclear weapons and abrogate the Japan-US Security Treaty
5. Efforts to achieve democratic change in politics
6. Tie-up and common action with the worldf trade unions