Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dispute at Panasonic reaching climax ? Human chain of 800 surrounding the Supreme Court

 The struggle of Yoshioka Tsutomu in Panasonic PDP, which influences the future of non-regular and regular workers all around Japan, has reached the climax - the stage of argument in the Supreme Court. This is the first case where the court makes a decision on disguised contracting and unlawful dismissals of non-regular workers. The argument will possibly result in reversing the judgment of the Osaka High Court, which demanded Mr. Yoshioka, the plaintiff, to be reinstated. On November 27, 2009, a human chain surrounded the Supreme Court against the possible reversal of the high court decision. 800 people joined the human chain so as to exceed the circumference. They included members of national centers of trade unions, such as Zenroren (National Confederation of Trade Unions) and Zenrokyo (National Trade Union Council), and non-regular migrant workers. (Kurogane Ko) Photo: Yoshioka Tsutomu appealing in a meeting

 全国の非正規、そして正規労働者の運命を決めるパナソニックPDP吉岡争議は、いよいよ最大の山場である最高裁での弁論を迎えた。非正規労働者の偽装請負や不法な雇い止め問題に最高裁が判断を下すのはこれが初めてである。弁論が開かれるということで、原告・吉岡力さんが職場復帰を勝ち取った大阪高裁判決が逆転の危機に瀕している。11月27日には、大阪高裁判決の見直しを許さないための闘いの一環として、最高裁包囲ヒューマンチェーン行動が取り組まれた。最高裁前には主催者発表で800人が集まり、ヒューマンチェーンの人波は最高裁1周をはるかに超えた。全労連、全労協などナショナルセンターの違いも国籍も越え、外国人非正規労働者を含めた実に様々な人々が結集した。(黒鉄好) 報告 *写真=報告集会で訴える吉岡力さん

Employees of “Sauna Ojo” near Ueno Station stand up against its closure

On November 3, 2009, the management of “Sauna Ojo”, located in front of Ueno Station in central Tokyo, suddenly notified its employees of the closure of the sauna on November 28. Many of the employees have worked at the place for more than 10 years, with some for more than 20 years. However, they have had no unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation insurance, no annual leave, or no pay for overtime or extra for working in late hours or on holidays. They were asked to leave only with a basic monthly salary, without any severance pay. The Tamayama, or Chang, family, the owner family, is going to abandon long-time customers and employees very easily. The employees formed the “Ojo Union” as an affiliate of the Haken (Dispatched Workers) Union on November 17 in order to defend their workplace. Your support is highly appreciated. (Haken Union) Blog of the Ojo Union


“Waiting for an answer from Transport Minister” ? Nov. 26 rally for solving mass firing of railway workers

The “Nov. 26 Rally for Solving Mass Firing of Railway Workers” was held at the Seiryo Kaikan Hall from 17:30 on November 26, 2009. It was hosted by four groups for demanding a political solution of the dismissal of 1,047 former National Railway workers. The number of the dismissed members of struggle groups and their families who joined the rally reached 365, the biggest ever. Lawmakers from the Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party, the People’s New Party, Komeito (Clean Government Party) and the Japanese Communist Party also participated in the rally as guests. Nihei Hisakatsu, chairperson of the Joint Struggle Congress, emphasized that a solution is nearing, saying, “We have passed our demand for the solution of the mass firing problem to the Transport Minister through a congressperson of the DPJ. It is to request the solution to be concluded by February 16, 2010 so that every dismissed former railway worker can make a living, and we have specifically informed JR (Japanese Rail) of the number of persons to be employed and the amount of the settlement. Now it is the turn of the minister to make a decision”. (M)


Rediscovering workers’ culture of the 1950s ? Activities of Shimo-Maruko Culture Group

 Ota Ward in Tokyo is famous for many small factories. However, it is little known that there used to be many cultural activities in the area. It is said that, during the 1950s, youths working at small factories wrote poems, sang songs and voluntarily created picture-story shows in the southern district of Tokyo (Ota, Shinagawa and Minato Wards). Many songs, such as “No A Bomb”, were created in over 200 groups there. An event “Younger Days in Southern Tokyo ? Reviving Cultural Activities of the 1950s” was held on November 23, 2009 in Ota Ward to commemorate a reprint of a magazine of the Shimo-Maruko Culture Group”. (Anzai Tetsuo)


Making area in front of Nike HQ a public space ? Performing against takeover of park

 At noon on November 20, 2009, about 70 persons gathered in front of the headquarters of Nike Japan in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo to protest against a virtual takeover of Miyashita Park in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo by the multinational corporation. They made the area a public space like the park by relaxing, playing music and performing in various costumes that expressed blue tents and trees there. The protest was eventually joined by homeless people in Shibuya, and all the participants delivered leaflets describing this problem to employees of Nike that has set fences for construction and attempted to expel anyone from the park, and to passers-by during lunchtime, appealing the emergent situation. (N)


The Intellectually Disabled Form a Union to Win Cancellation of Office Closure and Dismissal of All Employees

 On November 12, the Forum Engineering Chapter of the National Union of General Workers (NUGW)-Tokyo East established around 24 intellectually disabled workers held a media briefing at the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to announce that we had succeeded in having the company management withdraw the decision to close the office and dismiss all employees. President Madono said, "When I heard the news (decision of dismissal) at first, I was afraid that the employees would lose means of living since many of them (working at that establishment) lived in a group home or company dormitory. However, we could make it withdrawn by joining the union. We appreciate encouragement we received from a lot of supporters. Thank you so much." The person in charge at the union headquarters said, "I would like to appreciate the management that sincerely listened to our appeal." At the end of the briefing, all participants joined in a chant for solidarity and fighting spirit (See thephoto). (Mitsuteru Suda at NUGW - Tokyo East) (Visit the blog.)


Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education Goes Ahead with "Recurrence Prevention Training" on Nezu and Kawarai --- Supporters Stage Action of Furor

 On November 11, the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education went ahead with "recurrence prevention training" on Ms. Kimiko Nezu and Ms. Junko Kawarai shortly after it imposed punishment on them with six-month suspension for their refusal to stand up and sing Kimigayo, the national anthem of Japan (in a graduation ceremony at school). Early in the morning, despite downpour of rain, about 40 supporters gathered at the Metropolitan Teacher Training Center at Suidobashi to raise voices in protest. With no reason given for the training and no response made to several instances of appeal action, their furor toward the board of education was boiling. On this day again, they had a letter of request prepared to be totally ignored. The representative of the Association against Dismissal for Kimigayo attempted to enter the premises of the Center, saying "At least you should receive this," the board personnel hurriedly formed a human barricade. In push and shove at the entrance, they eventually received the request though unwillingly.
(M) Photo: Tokyo residents with placards 

 11月11日、君が代不起立で6ヶ月の停職処分をされたばかりの根津公子さん・河原井純子さんに対して、都教委は「再発防止研修」を強行した。どしゃぶりの雨にもかかわらず、早朝から支援者約40名が水道橋・都教員研修センターに集まり、抗議の声を上げた。一切研修の理由も示さず、数度にわたる要請にも応えない都教委に対する怒りは沸点をこえていた。この日も要請書を持参したが、まったく無視する態度。「受け取るくらいしてほしい」と「解雇させない会」の代表が、センター内に入ろうとすると都教委職員は慌てて人間バリケードをつくった。入口で揉めるなか、都教委はしぶしぶ要請書を受けとらざるをえなかった。(M) *写真=一都民がプラカード

Anger Manifested at Irresponsible Attitude of the Hatoyama Administration --- Rally in front of the Diet building with Okinawan Delegate

 During lunch break on November 10, 100 citizens got together in front of the Second Diet Members' Building for the House of Representatives to stage a rally "Article Nine Revision Blocking Association's Nov 10 Diet Building Sit-in." The Okinawan delegate unanimously expressed their anger at the irresponsible behavior of the Hatoyama administration concerning the policy toward Futenma Airbase. Mr. Ashitomi, representing Nago Council against the Helicopter Base Construction in Okinawa, expressed strong anger saying, "What's going on in the mind of Foreign Affairs Minister Okada when he mentioned his plan for integration of Futenma Base with Kadena Base happening? What is Prime Minister Hatoyama thinking about when he tolerated it?" The delegate's appeal action toward the Hatoyama administration and Diet members takes place on November 10 and 11 as President Obama's visit to Japan is scheduled on November 13. (Masanori Yumoto) See animation (Uniontube).

 11月10日昼、衆議院第2議員会館前には100名が集まり、沖縄の11・8県民大会上京団を迎え「9条を守り、憲法改悪を許さない11・10国会前集会」が開催された。沖縄の上京団は異口同音に、鳩山内閣の普天間基地政策をめぐる無責任さに怒りを露わにしていた。これまでずっと普天間基地県内移設候補に挙げられてきた辺野古の「ヘリ基地反対協議会」代表委員、安次富(あしとみ)さんは、「普天間基地の嘉手納基地統合案を語る外務大臣の頭の中は、一体どうなっているのか? その発言を許した鳩山首相は、一体何を考えているのか!」と強い怒りの意志を表明した。上京団は13日のオバマ米大統領来日を前に、10~11日と鳩山内閣をはじめ国会議員への要請を行なう。(湯本雅典)動画(UnionTube)

Five Hundred Demonstrators in Tokyo Protest the US Embassy in Solidarity with Okinawans against Base Construction in Henoko

With the issue of extra-prefectural transfer of Futenma Airbase in Okinawa developing rapidly in the wake of the approach of November 13 visit of President Obama to Japan, 500 citizens in Tokyo got together at 2:00 p.m., November 8, in Mizutanibashi Park, the Ginza, to march through downtown Tokyo in solidarity with the Okinawa People's Rally against Base Construction in Henoko that was concurrently held. The Tokyo rally was organized by the executive committee for preventing base construction in Henoko. With dugong-shaped huge balloons pt up and in various eye-catching costumes, they appealed to citizens out on Sunday streets of central Tokyo with chants, "Don't kill the sea of dugons!"and "Out with US bases in Okinawa!" After once disbanded in Hibiya Park,they gathered again in front of the US embassy for the rally representative to make appeal (TM at the reporting department) See animation on the Ginza demonstration.


Appeal Action at Musical Instrument Fair - Cort-Cortek Workers Union Korea and Freeters Union Fukuoka

 On November 7, at a musical instrument fair held at Pacifico Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, union members from Cort-Cortek Union Korea and Freeters Union Fukuoka staged publicity activities (see photo). Cort-Cortek Workers Union appealed for normalization of the plant now shut down and for dismissed employees' return to work. Freeters Union Fukuoka called for renewal of the employment conract for a piano instructor having worked for Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co., Ltd. as well as for collective bargaining, which appeals were addressed at both visitors and those companies. This action attracted artists from Korea and America and Japanese supporters, who enjoyed the lively time with vocal, instrumental and other performances. Among other things, improvised performance of the violin, pianica and horn, playing Arirang and Like Dandelion received cheers and applause. (Kuniko Ozawa)