Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tezukayama U. faces criminal charges for labour standards violations

Unpaid Allowances in the 2010 School Year
Tezukayama University in Nara failed to pay a General Union member an allowance for cancelled classes. Classes scheduled to be taught in September 2010 were cancelled by the university on the grounds that “not enough students had signed up. Tezukayama paid the September wages, but nothing for the rest of the semester.
The union sent demands to the university asking that the cancelled classes be paid for as per the Labour Standards Law since the cancelled work was attributable to the employer. However, the university refused payment, insisting that “according to the employment contract, we only have to pay one month's worth of the wages”; that “the university has the authority to cancel classes at its own discretion”; and that “the cancellation was not for reasons attributable to the university”.
According to Article 26 of the Labour Standards Law, 60% of the average monthly wage must be paid when work is cancelled for reasons attributable to the employer. Since the employer is clearly responsible for ‘sales’ the cancelled work is the responsibility of the university.
The union member, accompanied by union officers, reported this to the Nara Labour Standards Office, seeking to redress the violation and on March 3, 2011, the Labour Standards Office ordered the university to pay the allowance for cancelled work.
Tezukayama University complied with the order, and paid the allowance.
[by General Union]

帝塚山大学 労基法違反で刑事告発

Gaba Assures Union: "We are Determined To

Improve Working Conditions"
On Monday March 5th 2013 the General Union Gaba branch held our first collective bargaining session of the year with Gaba.
Five members and three union representatives attended, and we made it clear that we expected improvements, and ultimately, the company said that they were "determined to improve conditions" for instructors, and that they were considering increasing the TNT bonus and the per lesson pay rate.

This is similar to what happened 5 years ago when the GU won an increase of 100 yen per lesson, and lengthening of contracts from 4 to 6 months. There is currently no assurance on the amount of the increase this time, or even if the board will approve it. The union is hopeful that this will eventuate, but is prepared to take other action if it does not. We hope to be able to give you firmer details before May.
One way or another, this is a year that will see changes at Gaba
[by General Union]

Fighting against “ghetto” in the office – Struggle of OGAWA Hideaki

OGAWA Hideaki (photo), a 41-year old salesperson for Bungeisha, Japan’s largest publisher of self-published books, has been confined to a “ghetto” in the office. In February 2012, Mr. Ogawa was suddenly notified by his director, “There will be no place for you after March”. He refused to accept the notification but has faced harassment ever since. He joined the Tokyo Managers’ Union to fight back. He was relegated to a position with something unnecessary – “Entry of manuscripts to be discarded”. He had to continue using a keyboard all day long and suffered from arthritis in all of the fingers. Even now, he is confined alone to a warehouse in the basement. He has been ostracized, and received a bonus of only 10,000 yen at the end of last year while its amount is at least equivalent to a salary for a month every year. Mr. Ogawa, supporting his family members, has never given up and continues his struggle by using the Internet effectively. (M)
* Photo: “Ghetto” in the second basement


自費出版国内最大手「文芸社」の営業マンだった小川秀朗さん(41歳・写真)は、「追い出し部屋」に入れられひどいめに遭っている。小川さんは入社2年目の 昨年2月に部長から突然「あなたの活躍する場所は3月からなくなります」と通告された。小川さんは、驚いて拒否したが、そこから嫌がらせが始まった。小川さんは東京管理職ユニオンに相談、組合に加入し、たたかう道を選んだ。営業の仕事をはずされ、必要のない業務「廃棄予定の原稿の入力」をやらされた。一日中キーボードを打ち続けたため両手全指が関節炎になってしまった。現在も、地下2階の倉庫でたった1人で作業をやらされている。同僚からは村八分、例年最低でも約1ヶ月出ていたボーナスは昨年末は「1万円」だった。家族がいて生活がかかっている小川さんだが、くじけていない。「私は絶対にいじめにまけない。こんなことが許されるのか。社会に訴えていきたい」とネットを駆使して活動を展開している。(M 

“March in March” – Spring labor offensive of migrant workers in Japan

On March 3, 2013, Verceremos, a Chilean song of revolution, sounded in the cold winter air in Tokyo. The “March in March” is an annual labor offensive rally of migrant workers in Japan, which is held at Hibiya Park, central Tokyo. It is joined by workers from Ethiopia, Scotland, Peru, Burma (Myanmar) and South Korea. The slogan of the rally is “Toward harmonious coexistence of people with different ethnic and cultural backgrounds”. The “March in March” has been organized by several trade unions that have many members of migrant workers, such as the Kanagawa City Union, the Zentoitsu Workers Union, the APFS Union and the National Union of General Workers Nambu, and held every year since 2004. (MATSUMOTO Chie)

Ustream video (95 minutes)



Beyond the corporate framework – Katsushika Ward Trade Union Council formed

On March 2, 2013, a new trade union confederation was formed in Katsushika Ward, Tokyo, in which the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Tobu is based. On that day, the trade union council held its inaugural meeting (photo). It consists of the Katsushika Local of the Tokyo Sanitation Workers’ Union, the Sanitation Workers’ Union of Jichiro (All Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers' Union), Tokyo Tobu, Kokuro (National Railway Workers’ Union), the Telecommunications Industry Labor Union, and the NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone) Trade Union Council. All the affiliated unions were determined to be in solidarity locally to protect the interests of working people. (SUDA Mitsuteru, Tokyo Tobu)



15,000 join another anti-nuke rally on March 9

Meiji Park in central Tokyo was filled with people demanding farewell to nukes on March 9, 2013 (photo). While the current Abe Administration is trying to restart nuclear power plants in Japan, OCHIAI Keiko, a writer and one of the organizers of the rally, said, “Since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, we have sought an alternative society that does not sacrifice anyone. Despite this, the current administration in Japan openly talks about the restart and export of nuclear power plants, and even dangerous Ospreys fly all around Japan. It will try to revise Japan’s “peace constitution” after the upper house election of this year. But we never give up. Let’s continue to be anti-nuke every day calmly but bravely. This is supposed to be our determination not only to eliminate nuclear power plants but also to change such a social system as to sacrifice someone”. SAITO Yuka, an evacuee from Fukushima, appealed, “Fukushima continues to be contaminated. Nothing has changed there. Please do not forget Fukushima”. During marches from the venue, one person was arrested due to overzealous actions of the police. (M)

Photos (Y)
Photos (TM)


3 9日、東京・明治公園はふたたび「脱原発」の人波で埋まった(写真)。たくさんの労組の旗、市民団体のノボリ、脱原発グッズを手にする人など多彩な集まりとなった。安倍政権が「再稼働」に舵を切るなか、集会は緊張感に満ちていた。呼びかけ人の落合恵子さんはこう語りかけた。「あの事故のあと私たちは、だれもを犠牲にしない今までと違った暮し方・生き方のできる社会を求めてきた。いま再稼働、原発輸出が公然と語られ、オスプレイが日本中を飛行する時代になった。参院選挙後には憲法改悪が控えている。でも私たちは挫けません。力強く淡々と確かに、けれど果敢に一歩一歩毎日を反原発デーにしていきませんか。 毎日が反原発デーであるということは、原発単体だけではなく、この犠牲のシステムを変えていこうという自分との約束になるはずです」。また福島からの避難者・斎藤夕香さんは「汚染の現実は何も変わっていない。福島を忘れないで」と訴えた。パレードは2コースで行われたが、出発時の警察の過剰規制により1名の逮捕者が出た。(M

People getting even angrier – 40,000 join anti-nuke action on March 10

People want denuclearization even more strongly two years after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Approximately 40,000 joined the “Action for Zero Nukes” organized by the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes on March 10, 2013. It took two hours for all demonstrators to leave the starting point of the demonstration, in which a rally was held in the afternoon. They were from a wide age range, and many of them were couples with small children. The demonstration was full of music and costumes. At night, another rally was held in front of the Parliament Building, joined by KAN Naoto, a former prime minister. Mr. Kan emphasized “no nukes”. We are sure that their voice “Down with nukes!” was heard by the members of the current administration led by Prime Minister ABE Shinzo. (M)
* Photo: Rally at the Hibiya Open-Air Music Hall, packed with people

7-minutevideo (YouTube)
Photos (Shinya)


脱原発を求める人々の声は、3.11から2年経っても衰えるどころか、ますます強まり広がっていることが示された。310日(日)、反原連が呼びかけた 「原発ゼロ大行動」には、日比谷集会・請願デモ・周辺省庁8ヶ所の抗議・国会正門前大集会と合わせて約4万人(主催者発表)が参加した。午後の集会が開かれた日比谷野音には人が押し寄せ場外にあふれ、デモが全部出るのに2時間かかるほどだった。参加者の年齢層は幅広い。お年寄りから中年・女性・若者まで広がりを見せた。とくに小さな子ども連れのファミリー参加が目立った。デモは経産省をぐるり一周して国会へ向かうコース。サウンドカー・ドラム隊など音楽に溢れたデモ、仮装でのアピールなど楽しい行進が続いた。そして夜には国会正門前を埋めつくしての集会。菅直人元首相も初めて参加し「原発ゼロ」を強調した。霞ヶ関一帯を包んだ「原発いらない!」の声は、安倍政権に確実に届いたはずだ。(M

Time-limited strike of Mr. Hiratsuka (a Union Yokosuka member) at Nissan settled

HIRATSUKA Ryoji, an assembly line worker at Nissan and our union member, ended his 2-hour strike at its Oppama Plant last January, which he had continued every day since July 2012 over his return to workplace after his 3-year leave of absence due to low back pain. Since Nissan clearly stated not to impose any disciplinary punishment against him by reason of the action he had taken, we reached an agreement with Nissan that Mr. Hiratsuka would continue to work on light duty from February onwards in accordance with his handicap.

Nissan has a reinstatement program for those who took a leave of absence due to a mental illness. However, the auto manufacturer has not changed its policy that assembly line workers be allowed to return only to the previous position. Mr. Hiratsuka achieved a great deal by leaving Nissan’s in-house union and joining the Union Yokosuka. On March 11, 2013, we concluded an agreement with the company at the Kanagawa Prefectural Labor Relations Commission.

Nissan has significantly reduced production in all of its plants and some uncertainties remain, but our union is still satisfied with the settlement through labor-management negotiations that will continue at Nissan. The auto manufacturer has fully accepted a request for an annual bonus from the in-house union in its spring labor offensive.

KOJIMA Takeshi

執行委員長 小嶋 武志

TEPCO, compensate! Take responsibility for Fukushima! Protest against TEPCO – 2 years after nuclear disaster

TEPCO, compensate! Don’t evade responsibility! Many people protested the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, on March 11, 2013, the second anniversary of the earthquake and the nuclear disaster. They demanded that TEPCO compensate for victims of the disaster, take responsibility for workers at the plant exposed to radiation, clarify causes of the disaster, and not restart the Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant. NASUBI, a member of the Network on Radiation-Exposed Labor, expressed his anger, saying, “A thorough cost reduction by TEPCO that has continued since autumn in 2012 seriously affects subcontractor workers at the Fukushima Plant with their safety neglected, and their wages and workforce reduced. TEPCO is even taking advantage of decontamination work that is led by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment. Surprisingly, the decontamination work in Tamura City, Fukushima Prefecture, is subcontracted to Oze Corporation, a 100% subsidiary of TEPCO, which has received kickbacks for hazard pay that is offered by the ministry for decontamination workers. This is the nature of this company. We never forgive it”. (M)



We are NOT a US colony! PM Abe strongly condemned for announcing participation in TPP negotiations

On March 15, 2013, hundreds of people protested in front of the Parliament Building and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry against Japan’s Prime Minister Abe’s announcement to participate in the opaque and undemocratic TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) negotiations despite his party’s lower house election pledge not to do so unless certain conditions are satisfied. Many of the demonstrators were young and expressed their anger, saying, “Japan will become a US colony”. The TPP will negatively affect not only agriculture but also healthcare, food, insurance and copyrights in Japan. UCHIDA Shoko, who “sneaked into” the venue of the TPP negotiation held in Singapore in the same month, exposed, “A US negotiator clearly said that it is impossible for Japan to overturn anything that has been decided”. Some US multinational corporations, such as Fedex, Google and pharmaceutical companies, joined the negotiation to collect some information, making her “feel the negotiation process is controlled by such US multinationals”. (M)




Saturday, March 9, 2013

General contractors are frauds! De-contamination workers negotiate with the government for hazard allowance.

“We are workers. Treat us as human beings!” On 28 February, workers wearing yellow bibs who are decontaminating radioactive areas in Fukushima, negotiated with the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare at the Upper House Diet Members Building. De-contamination workers in the evacuation zone, who are subcontracted workers, are entitled to a hazard allowance of 10,000 Yen per day, but have not been paid. The eight workers who participated in the negotiation all demanded the payment of the allowance owed to them. “The Ministry of the Environment says that the Ministry is paying the general construction companies for the allowance, but none of us are getting it. We only get a daily wage of 10,000 Yen. This is nothing but a fraud. Tax money should not be used so haphazardly. The Ministry has the responsibility as the original contractor and should thoroughly investigate the issue.” The staff of the Ministry said “We are giving guidance to general construction companies, but once the contract is concluded we cannot intervene in private business.” The de-contamination workers, organized in a group called the Nation Union of General Workers’ Fukushima Solidarity, protested against the original contractor, Kajima JV and subcontracting company the next day. (M)  


「私達は労働者だ!人間として扱え!」黄色いゼッケンがまぶしい。228日午後、参院議員会館会議室で、福島の除染労働者が対環境省・厚労省交渉を行った。 警戒区域内の除染作業に対しては危険手当として11万円が支給されることになっているが、実際には、末端労働者に渡っていない。この日、参加した除染労働者8人も受けとっておらず、支払いを求めた。「環境省はゼネコンに危険手当を払っているというが、私たちは誰一人受けとっていない。賃金は1万円そこそこにしかならない。これはゼネコンの詐欺ではないか。税金を使う国の事業でそんなデタラメが許されるのか。環境省は発注者責任があり、調査・指導を徹底してほしい」と強く訴えた。担当職員は「ゼネコンには指導している。そのあとの発注は民間同士の取引なので・・」と口をにごした。「ふくしま連帯ユニオン」 に結集する除染労働者らは、1日には元請けの鹿島JVや下請け業者に抗議行動をする。(M

Demanding Equal Treatment: Labornet TV features women labor

The special feature of the 47th episode of Labornet TV on 28 February was gender wage discrimination. The guest,  YAKABI Fumiko,  fought  a gender wage discrimination case against Kyogasu Co. and won a correction of the wage disparity. What helped her in the case was the gender-neutral job evaluation for pay equity promoted by the International Labor Organization. She explained in the program the idea of the method and how it is actually applied. “The worker can show the objective value of the job, which could be the base for eliminating discrimination. In Europe, pay equity was established not by the initiative of the governments. It was the result of the joint efforts of the labor unions and feminists demanding pay equity policy.”
The TV program also featured the cut in the welfare benefits. One young recipient answered the interview, “If the cut is carried out, I could only eat and sleep. There will be no socializing or cultural well being”. (M)  


2 28日「レイバーネットTV」第47号の特集は「なめたらアカンで!女の労働」だった。ゲストの屋嘉比(やかび)ふみ子さん(写真左)は、京ガスでの男女差別裁判で勝訴し、賃金是正をたたかいとった経験がある。この時、役立ったのがILOの国際基準である「職務評価」という仕事の価値を計る方法だった。 番組ではその理念と実際の応用をわかりやすく解説した。「労働者の側から仕事の価値を客観的数値で示すことができ、差別を許さない根拠になる。欧米では均等待遇が進んでいるが、政府が自らすすんでやったわけではない。欧米で進んだのは、労働組合がフェミニストとタッグを組んで、均等待遇の政策を政府に突きつけてきた結果だ。いま海外でやられていることがなぜ日本で出来ないのか」と訴えた。また番組では、「本日もアブナイカク!」第二弾として生活保護切り下げ問題を取り上げた。20代の当事者が電話インタビューで、「カットされたら食べて寝るだけの生活になる。人づきあいや文化的生活は全くなくなる」と厳しい実態を語った。(M