Sunday, February 28, 2010

Victorious settlement reached in Konaka’s “Only-in-name store managers” case – Settlement money to be paid to two

Two store managers of Konaka, a chain of suit stores, filed a lawsuit against the company for that they “had been obliged to work for long hours without overtime being paid in spite of being only-in-name managers”, demanding the overtime be paid for the hours worked unpaid. The two are members of the Konaka local of the National Union of General Workers, Tokyo Tobu. A settlement was reached between them and the Konaka management at the Yokohama District Court on February 8, 2010, so that the latter make the financial settlement to the two plaintiffs. The two store managers and the union take the amount of the money as being “satisfactory”, winning a victorious settlement, although it is necessary to withhold the actual amount under the secrecy clause. Its significance is that the management virtually accepted the fact that the two store managers were “only-in-name” with the payment of the settlement money substantially equal to the unpaid overtime. (Suda, Tokyo Tobu) Reported in the union blog * Photo: Union members and supporters (in front of the district court)

 私たち全国一般東京東部労組コナカ支部の組合員である2人の店長が「店長というのは名ばかりなのに残業代が払われないまま長時間労働させられた」として、株式会社コナカを相手取って店長時代の未払い残業代を請求していた「名ばかり店長」裁判が、2月8日横浜地裁であり、会社側が2人に解決金を支払う内容で和解が成立しました。解決金の金額のみについては守秘義務があるため額を公表することはできませんが、原告である2人の店長と当労組は「十分に納得のいく額」と考えており、勝利和解です。今回の和解は、会社側が2人に対して実質的に未払い残業代にあたる解決金を支払うことで、「店長は名ばかり管理職」だったことを会社側に事実上認めさせたという点に意義があります。(東京東部労組・須田) ・詳細(当該ブログ) *写真=組合側関係者(勝利和解した地裁前)

No helipad in Takae, Okinawa – A sit-in continues

A sit-in has continued since 2007 in protest against a plan to construct a helipad near a settlement in the Takae district, Higashi Village in Okinawa Prefecture in exchange with a partial return of the Okinawa Hokubu Training Area of the US Army. The construction of the helipad has been stopped ever since. However, the Okinawa Defense Bureau unilaterally told the community residents recently its intention to restart the currently suspended construction in July this year, and held a briefing for them on February 1. In the “briefing”, the same materials as those that had been already given to them before were delivered, and the only answers from the bureau staff were “We are not sure” or “It hasn’t been decided yet” to such questions from the residents as a “scale of noise”, “types of helicopters” or “flight courses”. Thus, the briefing was far from satisfactory. Many people from all around Japan support the protestors in Takae who have continued their sit-in. Support from more people is needed for the residents in protest against the restart of the helipad construction scheduled in coming July. (Yumoto Masanori)  video (UnionTube)


Yokohama Incident “Found Innocent” – Toward the abolition of substitute prisons

On February 4, 2010, the Yokohama District Court decided to grant approximately 47 million yen to former defendants of the “Yokohama Incident” as claimed. Banners saying “Innocence confirmed” and “Found innocent” were hoisted in front of the court. The epoch-making decision acknowledged torture by the special political police and the responsibility of the judicial system. In the Yokohama Incident, a case of suppression of free speech, not only those committed to free speech but also many workers who belonged to workers’ groups in the Keihin industrial district were arrested and tortured. In addition, the late Kimura Toru, a former defendant, participated in meetings of the UN Commission on Human Rights to strongly appeal the seriousness of Japan’s “daiyo kangoku (substitute prison)” system (using detention cells in police stations as prison) causing false charges during his campaign for retrial that had lasted for more than 20 years. The best way to truly heal the wounds of the incident will be the abolition of “daiyo kangoku” that still exists. (M) Cartoon by Ichihanahana. HP of the Network for Retrial on Yokohama Incident

 2月4日、横浜地裁は「横浜事件」元被告5人に対し、請求通り約4700万円を交付する決定を行った。裁判所前では「無罪を認定」「雪冤成る」(無実が明らかになる)の垂れ幕が掲げられた。決定では、特高警察による拷問が認定され、司法の責任も指摘するなど画期的内容であった。言論弾圧事件といわれる横浜事件だが、言論人だけでなく、京浜地区の労働者グループも多数検挙され、拷問された事実も忘れてはなるまい。また元被告・木村亨さん(故人)らは20年以上の再審請求運動の中で、国連人権委にも足を運び、日本の「代用監獄システム」(留置所を拘置所代りに使う)が冤罪を生むと強く訴えてきた。今も続く「代用監獄」の廃止こそが、この事件に本当に応える道だろう。(M) 漫画(壱花花)・再審ネットワークHP

Don’t discriminate by company size – Negotiation with MHLW on increase in overtime pay

The National Union of General Workers negotiated with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare at a meeting room in the First Members’ Office Building of the Lower House on February 1, 2010 over the “revised” Labor Standards Law that will be enforced on April 1 (photo). The biggest problem for us is that, while the “revised” law provides the rate of increase in overtime pay being raised from the current 25% to 50% for hours exceeding 60 hours a month in order to restrict long working hours causing karoshi (death from overwork), it “does not obligate” small and medium businesses to “raise the rate for the time being”. The union, which organizes many workers in SMBs, can never accept such discriminatory measures based on the sizes of companies. Angry voices were raised from members of the union one after another at the negotiation. (Suda Mitsuteru, National Union of General Workers)


Victorious settlement reached in the Keihin Hotel struggle!

Collective bargaining had been repeatedly held with the bankruptcy administrator since November 16, 2009 in the Keihin Hotel struggle. After 23 sessions, the union succeeded in gaining a victorious settlement at the Tokyo District Court on January 29, 2010. The contents are satisfactory for the union, in which job security is agreed on by the administrator, although the details need to be withheld until all the settlement clauses are fulfilled. The struggle was new for a trade union in a sense to pursue responsibility for employment of a creditor, an overseas fund, and an assignee of accounts receivable. We would like to express our gratitude for the achievement of the power of trade unions and people that enthusiastically supported our struggle. We will hold a “meeting to report the settlement and a party” at the Sohyo Kaikan in central Tokyo from 19:00 on April 28. Please join us there. (From the Keihin Hotel struggle blog) * Photo: Court enforcement in January 2009

 京品ホテルの闘いは、昨年2009年11月16日から破産管財人との団体交渉を繰り返していました。23回を重ね1月29日、東京地裁で勝利的和解を勝ち取りました。和解条項が完全に履行されるまで和解内容への言及は守秘義務によって、さしひかえさせていただきますが、雇用保障についても破産管財人から理解を得た満足できる内容です。外資ファンドの債権者や債権譲渡先の雇用責任を追及する、労働組合にとって未知の闘いでした。この勝利は熱烈に支援してくださった労働組合、市民のみなさんの力に包まれた成果であり感謝いたします。なお4月28日(水)19時から、総評会館で「解決報告集会とパーティ」を開催いたします。ご参加をお願いします。(京品ホテル闘争ブログより) *写真=09年1月の強制執行

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Movement to Support Independent Media of South Korea ~ MediACT Director Appeals

On Feb. 1, a protest against South Korean media bashing was carried out in Tokyo. Four members from Labornet, MediR, OurPlanet-TV and ColumRights visited South Korean Embassy to post petition urgently gathered from six groups and 82 individuals. Some 24 people gathered at MediR in Tokyo’s Takadanobaba at 6 p.m. for a rally called, “Save MediACT! Emergency meeting” (See photo). The participants discussed the situation with MediACT Director Kim Myunjeon in South Korea via Internet. “I would like you to know that the efforts of independent film and citizens’ media supported Korean drama,” Director Kim told the attendees in Tokyo. “The irrational and devious measures taken by the government of President Lee Myung-bak are intended to destroy South Korean culture. I would appreciate it if you could inform others of criticism over the South Korean government.” (By M) ・Submission of petition (See Video on UnionTube) *Photo = Yukihiro Yasuda talks to Director Kim

 2月1日、韓国メディア運動つぶしに抗議するアクションが東京で行われた。夕方、レイバーネット・メディアール・OurPlanet-TV・コムライツのメンバー4人が韓国大使館を訪れ、緊急署名(団体6・個人82)をポストに投函した。そして午後6時からは、高田馬場メディアールに24名が集まり「MediACT救え! 緊急ミーティング」が開かれた(写真)。そこでは、ソウルのMediACT所長キム・ミョンジュン氏とネット電話でつなぎ、生中継スタイルで詳しいやりとりが出来た。キム所長は「韓流ドラマの底流に、MediACTがやってきた独立映画や市民メディアの運動があることを知ってほしい。非合理で悪辣な李明博政権の今回の措置は、韓国の文化全体をだめにするもの。韓国政府批判の声を拡げてほしい」と強く訴えた。(M) ・署名提出(動画 UnionTube)*写真=ネット中継でキム所長とやりとりする安田幸弘さん

Let’s Abolish US Base from Okinawa! - 6,000 People Gather at Rally on Futenma Base

On Jan. 30, about 6,000 people gathered at Tokyo’s Hibiya Open Air Concert Hall for a rally called, “We don’t need Futenma Air Base: We don’t allow construction of a new base in Henoko.” The people overflowed from the venue into the park. Many who came from Okinawa, Diet members and others from citizens groups stood at the podium to say their piece. Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine, 64, won the last mayoral election with opposition views against relocation of Futenma Air Base to Henoko. His victory was said to express the public views. With that, the Tokyo venue was filled with vitality and participants were vibrant. They criticized Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who repeated the importance of saving lives of citizens in his policy speech to open the Diet session a few days ago, and yelled, “If you want to save our lives, you should get rid of bases, US military or Self-Defence Forces.” After the rally closed, they marched to trendy fashion district of Ginza shouting, “Let’s get rid of US bases from Okinawa! Let’s create peaceful Asia!” (By Y) Photo flashVideo (YouTube)  *Photo = People overflowing the concert hall

 1月30日、東京・日比谷野外音楽堂で、「普天間基地はいらない 辺野古・新基地建設を許さない全国集会」が開催され、約6000人(主催者発表)が集まった。満員の会場に入れない人は周辺で待機。現地沖縄から駆けつけた多数の人々が壇上にあがり、衆参の国会議員、市民団体などが次々と発言した。先の名護市長選では、「普天間飛行場の辺野古移設反対」を掲げた稲嶺進氏が当選した。この民意を受けて会場は活気に満ち、参加者は気勢をあげた。とりわけ「命(を守る)」を連呼した鳩山首相の施政方針演説に触れ、「命を守るのなら、基地も、米軍も、自衛隊もいらない」との批判が相次いだ。閉会後、いくつものてい団に分かれ、「沖縄から米軍基地をなくそう! 平和なアジアを作ろう!」と力強いシュプレヒコールを繰り返しながら、銀座をデモ行進した。(Y) 写真速報動画(YouTube) *写真=超満員の会場

Tokyo Education Board’s Purposefully Dismissing Mr Hikita Revealed - 20-Minute Testimony

On Jan. 27, the last testimonial to reinstate Tetsuya Hikita as a junior school teacher was held at Tokyo District Court. Hikita was dismissed because the school said he was inappropriate for the position during his training period. Hikita, who formerly taught at Kodaira No. 5 Junior High School, spent about 20 minutes explaining unfairness and illegality of dismissing public workers. His dignified appeal echoed heavily in the court house filled with supporters. “This struggle will extensively influence education board,” Lawyer Akira Fukushima said after the hearing closed. “We will be in trouble if it gets easier to dismiss public workers like this.” The verdict will be handed down on April 28. (By Y) See Hikita’s homepage

都教委の狙いうち解雇明らかに~疋田教諭 20分にわたり最終陳述

Ant Throws Giant Elephant! - Victory to Yoshiharu Tsujii of JR Pin Battle

On Jan. 26, Kanagawa Prefecture Labor Relations Commission issued a “victory” order to Yoshiharu Tsujii of JR pin battle. Tsujii was repeatedly reprimanded by East Japan Railway simply for wearing a pin. The case was one that the third party pointed out JR East’s wrongful conducts, and it was the moment an ant threw a giant elephant. The ruling acknowledged that the entire company was in on the unfair labor practice. JR East offers employees trainings on compliance, but it’s the company management that should relearn.


Lively Discussion for “Another World” ~ Global Social Forum in Tokyo

Up against neo-liberalistic globalism, a World Social Forum (WSF) was held in Japan on Jan. 24 in Tokyo, which was titled, “WSF 2010 in Tokyo.” About 300 people came to the forum that has been held throughout the world. The first one ever to be held in Japan was in Arakawa Ward in January 2008 with a slogan “Another World is Possible.” Participants attended group discussions on 11 issues such as poverty-right to housing, neo-liberalism vs labor movement and thinking about an alternative society from a gender-sensitive perspective. The forum was held at Korean YMCA in Japan in Tokyo’s Suidobashi area. (By Y) See flash photo news・event homepage

 新自由主義的グローバリズムに抗して、世界各地で開催されている「世界社会フォーラム(WSF)」に呼応する日本での取り組みが1月24日、東京都内で開かれ、約300人が集まった。集会の名称は「WSF 2010 in TOKYO」(世界社会フォーラム 首都圏)。「もうひとつの世界は可能だ」を合言葉に、国内では2008年1月、東京・荒川区で初めて開催された。会場となった水道橋の「在日本韓国YMCA」では、朝から夜まで、「貧困-居住の権利」「新自由主義 VS 労働運動」「ジェンダー視点からオルタナティブ社会を考える」など11のテーマの分科会と、集約の全体会(写真)が持たれ、活発な議論が展開された。(報道部・Y) 写真速報・主催者HP

Monday, February 8, 2010

Korean film “Weabak” (Stay out overnight) independently shown ? Women who occupied a huge supermarket for struggle

A South Korean film “Weabak” (Stay out overnight), directly by Kim Mi-re, is popular. However, it has not been showing in theaters. The film was invited to the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in 2009 and has been shown in Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo through independent distribution channels. This is a documentary of 500 female cashiers who occupied a floor of a huge supermarket “Home Ever” in Seoul for 510 days. I was very impressed with their brightness. 30 to 40 cash registers are lining, and each of them is held by a woman bringing in blankets to defend their workplace. The women sing, dance and join hands with one another, making the scene as a grand theater. (Kinoshita Masaaki)


Meeting focusing on “Society good for both women and men” ? Toward trapezoid-shaped curve of employment from M-shaped one

A meeting calling for a “Society food for both women and men” was held at the Bunkyo Ward Gender Equality Center in central Tokyo on January 9, 2010. This year is that of the “Third Basic Plan for Gender Equality”. Fukushima Mizuho, who has become the Minister of Gender Equality in the current coalition government, delivered a speech and exchanged opinions with local assemblypersons who came here from all over Japan. The meeting was co-hosted by the “National Organization of Feminist Legislators” and the “G.planning Bunkyo”. Ms. Fukushima first said, “I would like to do whatever I can while I am in the current position”. She introduced excellent systems to support women to work and raise children in European countries, such as France. Ms. Fukushima reiterated that the current “M-shaped curve of employment” among Japanese women by age group be changed to the “trapezoid-shaped one (reverse U-shaped one)”. (Reported by Y)


Illegal labor dispatch is also done at schools! ? Simultaneous nationwide research on disguised outsourcing of foreign lecturers

Illegal worker dispatch was not limited to factories. An increasing number of foreign lecturers are employed in the form of disguised outsourcing for English classes at public schools. Such lecturers are working under poor working conditions and in precarious positions. The General Union picked up this problem very early. Last year, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology finally started a simultaneous nationwide research on “disguised outsourcing of foreign lecturers by education boards”. In addition, the General Union is pursuing the violation of law by subcontractors like Interac in cooperation with various ministries. Its research has entered a crucial point, and the campaign to “eliminate outsourcing of lecturers” has shocked boards of education and dishonest staffing companies in all around Japan. We are demanding “Proper direct employment now!” (Osaka General Union) - General Union Website * Photo: Foreign member of the General Union

違法派遣は工場だけではなかった。公立学校の英語教育などで、外国人講師が偽装委託の形で雇用されるケースが激増している。そこで働く外国人講師は、劣悪な労働条件と不安定な立場に置かれている。ゼネラルユニオンはこの問題をいち早く取り上げていた。そして昨年、ついに文科省が「教育委員会の外国人講師偽装委託」全国一斉調査を開始した。また、ゼネラルユニオンが各省庁との連携で、インタラックなど請負業者の法違反を追及している。調査は今年にはいり山場を迎えており、「講師委託一掃」の大号令で、全国の教育委員会と悪徳派遣業者に衝撃が走っている。私たちは「今すぐまともな直接雇用を!」と要求している。(大阪ゼネラルユニオン) ・ゼネラルユニオンHP *写真=ゼネラルユニオン外国人組合員

“Making society fairer and more peaceful” ? Secretary General Suzuki of Sapporo General Union

Suzuki Hajime, Secretary General of the Sapporo General Union and a member of LaborNet Japan, was extensively reported in the “Gendai Kawaraban (Modern bulletin board)” column of Hokkaido Shimbun on January 6, 2010 (Photo). The report says, “The Sapporo General Union is a joint union mainly for small and medium-sized businesses and individual workers. It has approximately 100 locals, joined by approximately 2,600 members”, “20 years have passed since Mr. Suzuki became a full-time official of the union in 1990. He has established approximately 200 unions and taken as long as 1 year and a half for forming a union”, and “The role of trade unions according to Mr. Suzuki is to make the society fairer and more peaceful. As long as they pursue social justice, they are supposed to support people who are troubled at their workplaces”. Sapporo General Union Webpage

 1月6日「北海道新聞」の「現代かわら版」シリーズで、札幌地域労組書記長の鈴木一さん(レイバーネット会員)が大きく紹介された(写真)。以下、記事から一部紹介する。「札幌地域労組は、中小企業の労組を中心に、個人加入者も束ねる合同労組。札幌近郊の約100職場に支部などがあり、約2600人が加盟している」「1990年に同労組の専従者になって今年で20年。約200の労組をつくり、一番長いときで結成まで1年半かけた」「鈴木さんが考える“労組の役割”。それはー。“この社会を、少しでも公正で平和なものに近づけること。社会正義を目指せば、足下の職場で困っている人たちを助けざるを得ないはずだから”」 札幌地域労組HP