Saturday, November 29, 2008

Temporary Workers on Strike at Nara Factory, Mori Seiki

An impressive one-day strike was staged by temporary workers at Nara Campus No. 1 Plant of Mori Seiki Co., Ltd. on November 13, 2008, which is located in Yamato Koriyama City, Nara Prefecture. Nine employees on temporary status working at the factory formed the Mori Skill Formation Center Branch, Osaka East Local of Kansai Godo Trade Union and protested against the cancellation of their employment contract, or dismissal in November. Mori Seiki is a world-famous machine tool manufacturer. Although the maker enjoyed sharp increases in revenues in the past five years, it suddenly announced that it would reduce the number of its temporary employees by 300 due to the financial crisis stemming from the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the decrease in export caused by the appreciation of the Japanese yen. The nine members of the branch and their supporters stuck with the one-day strike by handing out fliers at their workplace at the start and end of the office hours, beginning at 7 :30 in the morning and in the evening, issued a strike notice and presented their demands to the company, voiced their discontent and rallied against the management in its premise, held a meeting and appealed to the public in front of Kintetsu Nara Station. (MIYAMOTO Takao)



Value of Fixed-Amount Benefit of 12,000 yen

Cartoon: Ichihanahana


  漫画 : 壱花花

Music, Coup de Ballet, and Hot-air Balloons! ~ Powerful and Energetic Workers’ Rally in South Korea

We visited Seoul, South Korea to join the Workers’ Rally that is held every November. The pre-event held in the evening of November 8 was filled with a very large number of people in front of Seoul Railway Station. We were very impressed with the sense of unity between respective struggle reports, music performances, dancing performances in groups and participants. The most impressive was hundreds of handmade red hot-air paper balloons. Cheers were raised once they were flown into the night sky. The Workers’ Rally (photo) that started at 2 PM of the following day attracted 30,000 participants so as to fill DaeHak-ro in Seoul, which is a trend-setting area in the city. All the participants chanted their messages together with the heavy sound coming out of a large screen that was installed on the stage. Various trade unions opened their booths on the pedestrian area, which became good opportunities for exchange. (KAWAMURA Takefumi) Photo and video (UnionTube)


 毎年11月に開催される韓国労働者大会に参加するためソウルを訪ねた。8日夜に開かれた前夜祭は、ソウル駅前を埋め尽くす大きな盛り上がりを見せた。個々の闘いの報告と音楽と群舞とが参加者と一体となった演出で、とても感動した。圧巻は手製の紙風船による熱気球(?)で、数百の赤い気球が夜空に舞い上がると大きな歓声が上がった。翌9日の午後2時から始まった労働者大会(写真)は、ソウル市大学路を制圧する3万人の大集会となった。舞台に設営された大スクリーンは、後ろの方では見えなかったが、響き渡る音響の下に一同気勢を上げた。また歩道上は、各組合が出店を開いていて、交流の場になっていた。(川村剛史) 動画(UnionTube)

Laugh at Power! ~ Course to Learn Essence of Caricature

Cartoon is an important medium to communicate people’s messages. Why not supplement your characters-only leaflets and posters with cartoon! The “Caricature Workshop” that will be held on November 29 and 30 at MediR attempts to incorporate cartoon into social movement more proactively. The lecturer is Lee Kijin, a South Korean researcher of caricature focusing on the issues of war and poverty and the criticism of power. She will explain how to appeal with caricature from various angles, such as its history in Japan and the world. Anybody is welcome if interested in expressing with cartoon. (Ichihanahana) Past and present caricature in the world. *Left: Cartoon by Lacoste, 2008. Satirizing the economic crisis. A float from the White House is thrown to rescue the Wall Street, not the poor.


漫画は、民衆のメッセージを伝える重要なメディアです。文字ばかりのチラシやポスターに、花を添えませんか。MediR(メディアール)で11月29~30日に開かれる「風刺漫画ワークショップ」は、運動のなかにもっと漫画を取り入れようという試み。戦争・貧困・権力の批判をテーマとする韓国の風刺漫画研究家・李其珍(イ・ギジン)さんを講師に、世界と日本の風刺漫画の歴史など、様々な角度から風刺漫画の魅力に迫ります。漫画で表現することに関心のある人ならだれでも受講可能です。(壱花花) 詳細・古今東西の風刺漫画 *左の風刺漫画=ラコステ・作 2008年 経済危機を風刺しています。ホワイトハウスからの救援の浮き輪が、貧困層にではなく、ウォールストリートに向けて投げられています。

Three Released and Welcomed with Cheer ~ 250 Gather at Protest Rally against Suppression of Peaceful Walk to Aso’s Mansion

A rally was held at the Sohyo Kaikan building in Tokyo at night of November 6 to protest against the sudden and unlawful police attack on the participants in the peaceful “tour to Prime Minister Aso’s mansion” with three malicious arrests. The venue was filled with 250 participants including the three who had just been released in the afternoon of the same day. The unlawfully-arrested, who were welcomed with a storm of applause, earnestly revealed what was going on during their detention and appealed for further support for their continued struggle. Hagio Kenta, a lawyer of Shibuya Kyodo Law Office, emphasized in support of them, “The suppression and arrest caused by the contents of the placards are unconstitutional, violating ‘freedom of expression’. We will demand the charge be completely dropped”. (T. YOKOYAMA) - The Rescue Group blog

「麻生邸拝見ツアー」に参加した人々に突然警官が襲いかかり、不当にも3人を連れ去った事件への抗議集会が11月6日夜、東京・総評会館で開かれた。会場には満員の250人が集い、この日の午後釈放されたばかりの仲間が元気な姿を見せた。3人は大きな拍手で迎えられ、勾留中の厳しい状況を切々と語り、今後の闘いへのさらなる支援を訴えた。渋谷共同法律事務所の萩尾健太弁護士は、「プラカードに書かれた内容で逮捕した今回の弾圧は、『表現の自由』を奪う憲法違反の行為だ。完全な不起訴を要求して闘っていく」と力を込めた。(T・横山) ・救援会ブログ

“JR East is Terrible enough to Punish only for Badge!” ~ Appeal with Rage in Front of JR East HQ

Tsujii Yoshiharu, who got a 10-day suspension for putting a Kokuro (National Railworkers’ Union) badge, and his supporters staged a one-day protest against East Japan Railway Company (JR East) on November 5. The Tokyo Metropolitan Labor Relations Commission judged in favor of Mr. Tsujii on March 27, 2008. He said, “My salary for this month is 120,000 yen, half of the usual amount due to the punishment. Despite the commitment of JR to compliance, it actually reveals its lack of morality without following the order from the labor relations commission”. JR East deployed an excessively large number of guards against the protesters heading to the entrance to the headquarters (photo). In addition, JR East even refused to accept any letters, with its undemocratic nature being exposed. Passers-by were very surprised at the appeal, “JR East is a terrible company enough to punish an employee only for putting a badge” and gazed up at the huge JR East H
R Building. (SASAKI Yumi) - Video (UnionTube)

「JR東はバッジで処分するひどい会社です!」~怒りの訴え 本社前に響く

 国労バッジ着用で10日間の出勤停止処分を受けた辻井義春さんと支援者は、11月5日、JR東日本への一日抗議行動を行なった。バッジ処分については、3月27日都労委が辻井さん側に勝利命令を出している。辻井さんは「今月の賃金は処分のためいつもの半分の12万円。JRは法令遵守を謳っているが、実際は都労委命令にも従わないモラルのない会社だ」とマイクで訴えた。申入れのため本社玄関前に向かう一行(写真)に対して、会社は多数のガードマンを配置し過剰警備。しかも申入れ書も一切受け取らない非常識な対応だった。「JR東日本はバッジで処分するひどい会社です」と訴えると、通行人はビックリしてJR東の巨大なビルを見上げていた。(佐々木有美) ・動画(UnionTube)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Three arrested attempting to view Prime Minister Aso’s mansion.

 On October 26, I went on a “Reality Tour” march to see Taro Aso’s grand mansion. I was curious to see what the 6.2 billion yen mansion looked like. We gathered around the Hachiko statue by Shibuya Station and set off on the Tour. I was towards the back of the march, and we attracted curious onlookers. One group of high school students (I assume) asked me what we were marching for. I replied that we were on the “Taro Aso Mansion Reality Tour”, to which they asked, “But, why are there so many police?” I didn’t really know so I told them to ask the police directly, but the police had nothing to say. It was in the midst of this kind of conversation that a sudden commotion erupted towards the front of the march. Before I knew what was happening, three people had been arrested. I can’t believe this outrage: people were arrested for walking down a public street and trying to see Aso’s mansion! (Reported by Furuta)
* The photo is of the arrests (source: TBS Television)  
* animation 

 10月26日、麻生総理邸宅見学ツアーに行ってきました。62億円の大邸宅とはどんなものかと好奇心丸出しで野次馬根性で参加しました。 渋谷駅ハチ公前に集まっていよいよ出発しました。私はツアーの後ろのほうで歩いていて、通行人も珍しそうにみていました。女子高生らしき人から「これは何ですか」「麻生総理大臣宅の見学会です」「でもなぜ警察官がこんなについているんですか」「さあ警察官に聞いてください」、おまわりさん無言。 こんな会話をしながら歩いていると、突然前方が騒がしくなりました。3名が突然逮捕されたというのです。公道を歩いているだけで、麻生総理宅を見学するだけで逮捕されるという、とんでもない出来事が起きてしまったのです。(古田)

October 24: Mass meeting demands settlement of JR’s discriminatory employment practices

On October 24, a national railway meeting was held at Hibiya Yaon in Tokyo by the“Four Organisations, Four Unions”, involving, according to event sponsors, 11,200 participants principally from labour unions. Participating organisations included Kokuro, Zendoro and the plaintiffs of Japan Railway Construction Public Corporation lawsuit. The meeting heard a variety of speeches, including an inspiring speech from Satoshi Kamata, and others expressing their determination to continue the struggle. The organisations and family members affected by the dismissal travelled from as far as Hokkaido and Kyushu to participate in this event. One family said that they wanted this event to be the last, but that they couldn’t give up on their demands for employment, pensions and a settlement. Unfortunately, the event was marred by disruptive heckling from a group that opposed the political strategy of the “Four Organisations, Four Unions”, who had dropped their demand for the dismissed workers to be reinstated. Participants also demonstrated in Ginza and demanded a prompt resolution of the JR dispute.
*Photo of the organisations and family members chanting.


 10月24日、東京・日比谷野音で国労・全動労・鉄建公団訴訟原告団など「4者4団体」が主催する国鉄集会が開かれ、労組を中心に11,200人(主催者発表)が集まった。呼びかけ人の鎌田慧(かまたさとし)さんの激励挨拶や当事者の決意表明などがあった。この日、被解雇者である闘争団・家族は北海道・九州から多数上京した。ある家族は「この集会を最後にしたい。でも雇用・年金・解決金の要求はゆずれない」と語っていた。また「解雇撤回を下ろした4者4団体の政治解決路線」に反対するグループが、集会中激しいヤジを飛ばしたため騒然とする場面もあった。参会者は、銀座にデモを繰り出し、JR不採用事件の早期解決を訴えた。 *写真は団結ガンバローをする闘争団・家族

Surrounding the Supreme Court with ribbons to appeal against gender-based wage discrimination.

On October 22 at 11am, blue skies were visible as women surrounded the Supreme Court, holding ribbons and chanting “Fair days pay for women’s work!” (see photo). The Supreme Court is currently hearing two cases of gender-based wage discrimination: Mitsue Nozaki vs. Showa Shell Sekiyu; and Kanematsu Corporation. Despite both cases achieving partial victories in the high courts, the judge limited their victory by ruling that discrimination before the enactment of the Law for Equal Employment Opportunity would not be considered. One hundred and twenty people, mainly women, gathered to support the plaintiffs and to appeal to the Supreme Court. The organiser Yasuko Yunoki, emphasised that this case will lead to changing structural wage discrimination in various types of employment, including regular employees, non-regular and part-time. Source: UnionTube video and Show Shell Labour Union homepage.

動画(UnionTube) ・昭和シェル労組HP 

Keep Keihin Hotel open! No to closure and redundancies!

The Keihin branch of Tokyo Union received notice on October 20 from the Keihin Hotel (located in front of Shinagawa station, Tokyo) that all 130 employees would be made redundant and the hotel closed due to its ailing business from the Lehman bankruptcy. The Union is fighting back with their demands that the hotel be kept open and management reinstate the workers. On the evening of the 20th, approximately 100 people gathered, including supporters and media, to protest in front of the hotel (see photo). The Chair of the union angrily spoke out against the management’s actions: “Everyone has families to support. Why should workers have to foot the bill for management’s recklessness?” Some women workers were in tears as they protested. The Union is occupying the Hotel while, at the same time, applying for an injunction on the 21st to uphold their demands. Source: Freeter Workers Union online magazine and Keihin Hotel occupiers’ blog.


Let’s change society to change politics! Two thousand participants speak out against poverty and for social reform.

 On October 19, approximately 2000 people participated in a mass meeting against poverty and for social reform, held in Meiji Park in Tokyo. The event was lively throughout the day with music, a rally, stalls, subcommittee meetings and a parade. People in wheelchairs and the elderly were a visible presence, and the event was a space for the socially vulnerable to speak out directly. There were 12 subcommittees, but the Labour subcommittee, in particular, attracted many participants. The harsh reality of the workplace and the struggles inspired there were highlighted. Makoto Yuwasa powerfully declared that: “I’m sick of losing because of the small differences. Let’s go beyond these walls and find our peers on the other side. We can all take one step closer towards this goal. Let’s change society and we can change politics”. Participants, with their originally designed merchandise in hand, made their way to the demonstration in Shibuya.