Thursday, July 30, 2009

Don't Give Up. Read! -- 'Handbook for Survival by Freeter Union' Published

I think this book covers a variety of topics. When people face trouble at work, when they thought they couldn't live alone, when they wish to get connected with others and do something, or when they look ahead to the future, the book is aimed at empowering them. Since 1990, when economic recession and income disparity became serious issues in the Japanese society, we have often felt anxious about or unsatisfied with ourselves for lack of ability to take action. This book was written with an aim for readers to utilize it to their advantage. Of course, there is a limit to what we could tell in each chapter, but we never wished for people to read it like a text book or some kind of ideology. We hope that readers will take it as a step to finding something new. (Exerpts from Postface by Ryota Sono) *On sale on July 21 at bookstores nationwide

 この本はとても多彩な内容になったと思う。労働で困った時、ひとりでは生きていけなくなった時、つながりたい・何かやりたいと思う時、さらに先の行動や考えを目指す時。人が生きる中でぶち当たる様々なシーンに力を与えられるものを目指した。日本社会で経済不況と格差が深刻化した1990年代以降、私たちには不安・不満や「何もできない」というあきらめの気持ちが広がってきた。本書では、様々なシーンで誰もが自分から「使える」本を目指すことにした。もちろん、各項目で述べられたことには限りもあるので、教科書やセオリーのように読まれることは望んでいない。あとはみなさんがこれを踏み台にして新しいものを生み出して欲しい。(園良太・あとがきより)  *7/21全国書店で発売

Seek Reponsibility from JR West former president Ide, who Built Corporate Culture -- Safety Issue Research Group

Safety Issue Research Group (represented by Kokutetsu Ko) announced a statement regarding a lawsuit filed on July 8 against JR West's former president on an accident caused by JR Fukuchiyama Line. In the statement, the group said it was a rare case and a giant step to file a lawsuit against a top executive of a transportation company concerning an accident caused by public transportation. Masataka Ide, former JR West president, was one of the three main roles who were involved in the reform of Japan Railway, which ruined safety of public transportation system and dissolved the state-run transportation company. The group also accused of Ide for taking over a forcible labor policy within former Japan Railway, which introduced a personnel center. It sought responsibility from Ide as the top executive for creating such a corporate culture within JR West that lacks smooth communication at a workplace.


190 People Gather at Union-Busting Symposium – Workers Express Anger

When workers courageously raise their voices to improve their low-pay, long-hour labor conditions and demand that companies guarantee workers' rights, they face retaliation from companies. Such cases have been on the increase. On July 5, 190 people listened to victims' angry disclosure at the symposium held at Surugadai Memorial Hall at Chuo University in Tokyo's Ochanomizu. The symposium was called, "We only get retaliation from companies for raising our voices -- non-regular workers & union's symposium on 7.5." Shukan Kinyobi, weekly magazine, co-sponsered the event. (By Y)


Movie "Akira Tsuru -- Traces of Mind" Screening Starts -- Big Success on First Day

A movie "Akira Tsuru -- Traces of Mind" that depicts a life of Tsuru, who persued anti-war and anti-authority using Senryu poems as a weapon, was screened at Pore Pore Higashi Nakano on July 4. On the first day, the theater was packed for both screenings. Director Seijiro Koyama (Second from left), Ryoma Ikegami and Fumie Kashiyama, actors in the film, addressed to the audiences. "Tsuru had the ability to foresee future," the director said. "In the end, the history was written as he had predicted. We faced a lot of hardships in making this film, but I feel a strong sense of accomplishment. I am glad that I had a chance to introduce him to th world." On the day, a Senryu group of Labornet Japan offered Working Poor Senryu Workshop and many people joined to write their own poems. The movie is screening through the 24th, and it will travel to theaters nationwide thereafter.  *Movie website

 川柳を武器に反戦・反権力を貫いた鶴彬(つるあきら)の生涯を描いた映画「鶴彬ーこころの軌跡」が、7月4日、東京・ポレポレ東中野で公開された。初日は、1・2回とも満席で、神山征二郎監督(左から二人目)と出演者(池上リョヲマ・樫山文枝)の舞台挨拶があった。神山監督は、「鶴彬は先を見通す力があった人。結局、歴史は鶴彬の言った通りになってしまった。今回の映画づくりは大変苦労したが、やり遂げた充実感はある。鶴彬を世の中に出すことができてよかった」と語った。この日はレイバーネット川柳班が中心になった「ワーキングプア川柳講座」の移動教室も行われ、多数が参加した。映画は24日までロードショー、また全国で順次上映される。 ・映画サイト

Sapporo Regional Labor Union: Victory after Home for the Elderly Otomo Keiaien Settles Out of Court

A union and Otomo Keiaien (200 beds) of Sapporo City's Higashi Ward settled out of Sapporo District Court on July 2. The union filed a civil lawsuit in demand for compensation of bonus cut last year and for refusing to agree to collective bargaining. The settlement demanded the management 1) pay about 12 million yen to 59 union members; 2) sincerely accept orders from Hokkaido Labor Standards Office; and 3) respect the union's right to collective bargaining and agree to negotiate. The union was able to make use of the order issued by the labor office and the court's order to pay a fine. But the union withdrew the compensation demand for refusing to
negotiate since the new director and the new manager sincerely agreed to resolve the case. (By Suzuki at Sapporo Regional Labor Union) *Photo = Strike at Otomo Keiaien

札幌地域労組: 老人ホーム 大友恵愛園の裁判闘争で勝利和解
 札幌市東区の特別養護老人ホーム大友恵愛園(200床)における昨年の一時金カットと、組合が使用者の団交拒否に対する損害賠償を求めていた民事訴訟で、7月2日、札幌地裁にて和解が成立しました。和解の要旨は(1)法人(大友恵愛園)は原告(59名の組合員)の請求を認め、約1200万円を支払う(2)法人は組合に対し、北海道労働委員会の救済命令を受けたことを真摯に受け止め、今後は組合の団結権を尊重し、誠実に団交に応ずることを約束する、など三項目。昨年の労働委員会の救済命令や、それに続く裁判所からの過料処分を、今後の労使関係に生かすことができました。団交拒否に対する損害賠償は、気持ちよく解決に応じた新理事長や新施設長の誠実さに免じ、放棄しました。(札幌地域労組・鈴木)  *写真=大友恵愛園のストライキ

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Minimum hourly wage \1,000 for anyone, anywhere! Zenroren goes on hungerstrike

On June 30, 2009, the National Joint Spring Offensive and Tokyo JointSpring Offensive of Zenroren (National Confederation of Trade Unions)went on a hunger strike for “703 minutes” from 8 AM to 7:43 PM. Threemembers of the Young Contingent Workers Union in Tokyo, including ayoung man who was working for Mitsubishi Fuso as dispatched worker butwas eventually fired, also joined the strike. Currently, even Japan’shighest minimum hourly wage is 766 yen in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefectures,and the lowest is 627 yen in Miyazaki, Kagoshima and Okinawa Prefectures.The duration of the strike “703 minutes” reflects the average minimumhourly wage in Japan, 703 yen. The too low minimum hourly wages are thereason why those working on a temporary basis are obliged to be theworking poor despite that they work for 2,000 hours a year. We went on ahunger strike with the slogan “Eradicate poverty! Boost economy byraising minimum wages”. Livable wage now! Stable working conditions now!(Yamada Shingo, Young Contingent Workers Union in Tokyo)

 全労連・国民春闘共闘・東京春闘共闘は6月30日、午前8時から午後7時43分まで「703分」のハンガーストを決行しました。首都圏青年ユニオンは、派遣切りされた三菱ふそうの若者を含め3名でハンガーストに参加。最賃がもっとも高い東京と神奈川でも766円で、もっと低い宮崎、鹿児島、沖縄は627円です。最賃平均額は703円なのでハンガーストも703分です。年間2000時間働いてもワーキングプアから抜け出すことが出来ないのは、最賃があまりにも低すぎるからです。私たちは「なくせ貧困!最低賃金の引上げで景気回復を」をスローガンにハンガーストを行いました。まともに生活出来る賃金保障を! 安心して働ける労働条件を作って行きましょう。(首都圏青年ユニオン・山田真吾)

No to Mitsubishi Fuso’s “Firing of dispatched workers”! Suit filedfor hiring on full-time basis

Suzuki Shigemitsu and Hayashi Takayuki, ex-temporary workers at theKawasaki Factory of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation who wereeventually dismissed, filed a lawsuit to the Tokyo District Court forconfirming their positions on June 29, 2009. The two plaintiffs wereworking at an assembly line for large vehicles in the factory for morethan three years. Their duties were the same as those of full-timeemployees, but they had their employment status changed many times and,therefore, had to be in a very unstable situation. Finally, they wereunilaterally fired on December 25, 2008. They joined the YoungContingent Workers Union in Tokyo in protest against the dismissal anddemanded a negotiation with Mitsubishi Fuso but without success. Then,they decided to bring the company to court. Mr. Suzuki (center of thephoto) assured in front of the court, “I was hanged up at first, buthave recognized it is important to raise a voice against something wrongsince I discussed with many people. I will never give up”. Image(UnionTube)

 三菱ふそう川崎工場で派遣切りに遭った鈴木重光さん・林貴行さんの2名は、6月29日、東京地裁に正社員としての地位確認を求める提訴を行なった。2人の原告は、川崎工場の大型車両製造ラインで3年以上働いてきた。仕事は正社員と変わらなかったが、雇用形態を何度も変えられ不安定な状態を余儀なくされた上、昨年12月25日に一方的に切られた。2人は、会社の使い捨てに納得がいかず首都圏青年ユニオンに加入し、会社に交渉を求めてきたが埒が明かず、今回の提訴になった。裁判所前で鈴木さん(写真中央)は「どうしたらいいか悩んだ。でもみんなと話す中で、おかしいことにはおかしいと声を上げる重要性を感じるようになった。頑張ります」ときっぱり語った。 動画(UnionTube)

Common place for both of life and labor movements now ? Appealed byYuasa, Tent City leader

On June 28, 2009, 500 people came to a national symposium of the “TentCity”, held in the Asakusa district, Tokyo. Mr. Yuasa Makoto (photo),leader of the “city”, spoke to the audience for 30 minutes withPowerPoint. He suggested the current difficult situations, saying, “TheTent City visualized the reality of Japan and played a certain role toreverse the slippery slope society. However, the situation has beenrather worsened with more than 10 million people earning only maximum 2million yen a year and is far from being stable”. He made a proposalfor the future, “The Tent City movement was novel in the sense oflinking groups for consulting on troubles about life and labor groups.It will be important to spread such a common place for both of life andlabor movements”. Although the secretariat of the “Tokyo Tent City” was disbanded, ex-residents of the city continued a lively exchange ofviews about it at a party after the symposium. (M)


“ABC of LGBT for Working People” handbook published

A handbook “WORKING TOGETHER: ABC of LGBT for Working People” waspublished. This handbook is to appeal to those who have never thoughtabout labor issues of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders, ratherthan the LGBT themselves. Any groups or individuals that are involved inlabor movement but have not addressed the LGBT issue are requested toread the handbook and take immediate action. Then, it is easy tounderstand how difficult working environments are for the LGBT. Betterworking conditions for everybody! Better living conditions for everybody!These are supposed to be pursued by labor movements and working people.(Ichihanahana)

 『WORKING TOGETHER 働く人のLGBT入門ハンドブック』が発行されました。このハンドブックはLGBT(レズビアン、ゲイ、バイセクシュアル、トランスジェンダー)当事者のために作られたものではなく、今までLGBTの労働問題について考えたことのなかった人に対して揺さぶりをかけるものです。とりわけ労働運動に取り組む団体や個人が、もしまだこの問題について考えたことが無かったり取り組んだことが無かったとしたら、このハンドブックを読んで早急にアクションを起こしてください。LGBTがいかに働きづらい環境におかれているか、このハンドブックを読めばその実態がよくわかります。万人にとっての働きやすさ!生きやすさ! これこそ労働運動と労働者の目指すものではないでしょうか。(壱花花)

Musicians are also workers! Rally held to support soprano singerYaegashi Setsuko

A rally to support Yaegashi Setsuko, a soprano singer, was held atBunkyo Civic Hall in Central Tokyo on June 16, 2009 with the slogan“Musicians are also workers”. Ms. Yaegashi (photo) was dismissed bythe New National Theatre, Tokyo in 2003 to which she belonged as a choirmember on a one-year contract. The theatre has refused a collectivebargaining with the Musicians Union of Japan. With regard to a lawsuitfor confirming a status over being a worker, the Tokyo High Court turneddown an appeal from her, saying, “A musician is not a worker”. Manyworkers are working on a one-year contract like Ms. Yaegashi. Therefore,if she is not a worker, this high court decision affects many workers.The rally was full of audience and supporters even in such a difficultsituation, and the concert held during the rally was very encouraging.(Yamada Shingo) Photo: Musicians Union of Japan

 「音楽家だって労働者」を合言葉に、ソプラノ歌手・八重樫節子さんを支援する集会が、6月16日、東京・文京シビックホールで行われました。2003年、合唱団員として1年契約で所属をしていた新国立劇場に解雇された八重樫さん(写真)。新国立劇場側は日本音楽家ユニオンとの団体交渉を拒否しています。また労働者性をめぐる地位確認裁判も高裁が上告棄却し「音楽家は労働者ではない」としています。八重樫さんのように1年契約で働いている労働者は多くおり、八重樫さんが労働者でないというなら、この司法判断は多くの労働者に及んでしまいます。このような状況下で行われた支援集会ですが、会場いっぱいの観客&支援者が集まり、この闘いを大いに励ますコンサートとなりました。(山田真吾) 写真・日本音楽家ユニオン