Tuesday, July 19, 2016

National Rail-workers Union activist SAKUMA Tadao passes away – In respect for each activist

Sakuma encountered the air raid during World War II in 1945, when he joined the Japanese National Railways at the age of fourteen. Ever since, he had been an activist of the National Rail-workers Union (Kokuro) and a symbol of the struggle for the reinstatement of 1,047 former JNR workers who were dismissed in the process of the JNR’s privatization. Also, Sakuma is one of the heroes of a documentary film “Be More Human – Kokuro’s 15-Year Struggle” produced by Video Press. He had been trying to recuperate from prostate cancer since two and a half years ago. His family members contacted me on July 8, 2016, saying that he had fallen into a critical condition. I got to the hospital in Tokyo to see him on the following day. Although he was blind and unable to talk, he answered me when I talked to him. He also reacted to NEZU Kimiko, who filed a lawsuit against an unfair practice of the Tokyo Metropolitan Education Board for refusing to stand up during the playing of Kimigayo, Japan’s controversial national anthem. She won the lawsuit at the Supreme Court. At 6:40 am on July 10, Sakuma passed away peacefully at the age of 85. (MATSUBARA Akira)


1945年に大空襲を体験し、その年14歳で国鉄に入社。以来、国労運動ひとすじの 佐久間忠夫さんは、JR不採用・1047名解雇撤回闘争のシンボル的存在でした。ま たビデオプレスがつくったドキュメンタリー映画『人らしく生きよう-国労冬物 語』の主人公です。2年半前から、前立腺がんで東京・大田区の病院で療養して いました。私が、佐久間忠夫さんの家族から「容態が悪化した」と連絡を受けた のは7月8日でした。翌9日、病院に駆けつけました。眼は見えず話もできません でしたが、耳は聞こえるようで、耳元で「来たよ」というと「うん、うん」と首 をふります。一緒だった根津公子さんは、佐久間さんに「毎回傍聴にきてくれた 停職処分裁判に最高裁で勝利したよ。本当にありがとう」と語りかけると深く頷 いていました。そして、翌朝10日の6時40分に息を引き取りました。延命措置は しなかったので、苦しむこともなく枯れるように亡くなりました。85歳でした。 (松原明)

Start of a new struggle – Opposition alliance worked

At an Upper House (House of Councilors) election held on July 10, 2016, the major party coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito won the majority of the contested seats, and the number of lawmakers who agree to the revision of Japan’s Peace Constitution exceeded two thirds of the upper house. An initiative for the constitutional revision needs at least two thirds of members of both parliaments (lower and upper houses). Japan’s Prime Minister Abe advocated the constitutional revision at the beginning of this year, but he never referred to it during the recent election campaign for fear of losing seats in the upper house. The major party coalition will strengthen their move toward the constitutional revision, but still many twists and turns are expected about the issue. On the other hand, the opposition alliance did not succeed in stopping the pro-revision members of the upper house from securing two thirds. But still they won eleven among thirty-two one-representation constituencies. Without the alliance between the opposition parties that are against the constitutional revision, the election result would be even more devastating. The opposition alliance has been supported by the grassroots movement that has become stronger and stronger, especially the participation of many youths in the election campaign. Abe won the election by hiding the main issues, such as the possible constitutional revision, but candidates from the opposition alliance won in constituencies that have such clear issues as US bases, nuclear power plants and the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). (WATANABE Hidekiyo)
* Photo: Tokyo Shimbun reporting the result of the upper house election


7月10日投開票の参院選で、自民・公明が改選過半数を超え、改憲勢力も3分の2 を超えることになりました。しかし、安倍首相は、年頭から「改憲」と声高に叫 んでいましたが、選挙では封印しました。「改憲」を前面に出すことは不利と考 えたからです。したがって、今後改憲に向けての動きは強まるでしょうが、曲折 も予想されます。一方、野党共闘の勢力は伸び悩みました。しかし、1人区にお いてはそれなりの成果(32選挙中11選挙区で勝利)を上げました。もし、野党共 闘が無ければ、さらに壊滅的な結果となったでしょう。 その最大の力になった のは、昨年以来の市民運動の盛り上がりであり、とくにシールズらの青年の選挙 運動への参加であったと思います。また、安倍首相は不利な争点を隠して今回の 選挙で勝利しましたが、沖縄・福島・山形など、基地・原発・TPPなどの争点 がはっきりした選挙区では、野党統一候補が勝利しました。(渡部秀清)

No more workplace abuses or sexual harassment! – Seven female taxi office workers form a union

Seven female staff members of the Tokyo Branch of the Greater Tokyo Privately-Owned Taxi Co-operative Society, which has approximately 440 members of privately-owned taxi drivers in Sumida Ward, Tokyo, formed a trade union to demand the repeal of its board members’ abusive and sexually-harassing comments and the regularization of part-time employees. The name of the union is the “New Tokyo Local of the Privately-Owned Taxi Co-operative Society, the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Tobu”. The union was formed in protest against the board members’ abusive behavior on some female staff members or spread of groundless rumors of sexual impropriety about them. Some of them were unilaterally relegated with a reduction in monthly allowance by 30,000 Japanese yen (300 US dollars) without an opportunity for explanation being given, and some others were forced to quit the office due to the management’s pressure based on an anonymous document. There have been many other problems at the workplace, such as the reduction in wage increase for fixed-term employees without their consent, the unlawful failure to pay extra for overtime, and extra work for the new-year party and the general assembly without overtime pay. (SUDA Mitsuteru, National Union of General Workers Tokyo Tobu) Video (14 minutes)


東京・墨田の個人タクシー乗務員らでつくる「東京都個人タクシー協同組合新東 京支部」(支部員約440人)で雇用されている女性職員7人が、一部役員による パワハラ・セクハラ発言の撤回やパート職員の正規職員化などを求めて労働組合 を結成しました。労組の名称は「全国一般東京東部労組個人タクシー協同組合新 東京支部」。結成のきっかけは、職員が一部役員から怒鳴られたり、事実無根の 性的な話を流されたりしたことなどへの不満です。弁明の機会も与えられず一方 
的に降格されて月の手当3万円をカットされたり、怪文書をもとに責め立てられ て退職に追い込まれたりした職員もいました。他にも嘱託職員の昇給額が勝手に 減額されたこと、残業代が違法に与えられなかったこと、新年会や総会時に無償 労働を強いられていることなど、労働環境に多くの問題がありました。(東部労 組書記長・須田光照) 動画(14分)

“Remove the obstacles” – Voice of Okinawa recorded

“The people in the mainland Japan have done and said the same thing repeatedly. Then, they say sorry while stepping on our feet. But before saying sorry, remove their feet”.
“Okinawa has still been in the state of war for 71 years since the end of World War II. We have no words to express our grief. This is not a natural disaster but a man-made disaster”.
“Remove the military bases that are the root of all evils. This is a road to happiness not only for Okinawa but for the mainland Japan. Japan is not a sovereign state yet”.
“The biggest problem is the indifference of the Japanese people”.
A video in which these comments are recorded has been uploaded by MIYUKI Emi, a LaborNet Japan member. She conducted the interviews at the “Okinawan people’s rally to commemorate the rape victim (by a former US marine) and demand the withdrawal of the US marines from Okinawa”, which was held on June 19, 2016. Miyuki says, “I would like as many people as possible to think about US base issues and war through these interviews”. (Editorial Department)  Video (8 minutes and 18 seconds)


「何回も同じことをして、何回も同じことを言ってきた。そのたびに本土は沖縄 の足を踏みながら、すいませんという。でもすいませんという前に、踏みつけて いる足をどかしてほしい」「71年経っても沖縄では戦争状態が続いている。言葉 にならない悔しさ。これは天災ではなく人災です」「諸悪の根源の基地をなくす こと。それは沖縄だけでなく本土も幸せになる道。日本はまだ主権国家ではな い」「日本人の無関心、それが一番の問題だ」。こうした沖縄の人たちの生の声 を収録した動画がアップロードされた。収録したのは、レイバーネット会員の見 雪恵美さんで、6月19日の「被害者を追悼し、海兵隊の撤退を求める県民大会」 でインタビューしたもの。見雪さんは「このインタビュー動画を通して多くの 方々に、基地や戦争について考えてほしい」と語っている。(編集部)  動画(8分18秒)

“We Want Justice!” – The Shanti Union will never be defeated

At 10 am on July 5, 2016, a banner of the Shanti Union appeared in the Kasumigaseki district in central Tokyo. Shanti is an Indian restaurant chain in Tokyo. The banner says, “Lage Raho”, which means “carry on” in Hindi. It also says, “We Want Justice”. This is the strongest wish of the workers at Shanti, who are facing its possible closure without their salaries being appropriately paid. The bankruptcy procedure has been under way, but the workers petitioned for the dismissal of YOSHIMASU Nobuharu, a trustee for the management of the restaurant chain, to the Tokyo District Court. The reason of the petition is that Yoshimasu infuriated the union members by saying, “We will treat this as a criminal case if you take away any items in the restaurants”. It is impossible for the union members to trust such a pro-management trustee. After the petition, Joshi, the union leader, appealed, “We have no money or nowhere to go. We would also like the Japanese Government to help us”. All of the fifteen union members directly came to Kasumigaseki and energetically protested despite the hardship. (M)
Photo flash, and video (3 and a half minutes)


7月5日午前10時、シャンティユニオンのバナーが「霞ヶ関」に登場した。ラゲラ ホとはヒンディー語で「一緒にがんばろう」の意味。そして「We Want  Justice」とある。賃金未払いのまま倒産攻撃を受けたかれらの一番の願いは 「正義がほしい」だった。すでに破産手続きが進んでいるが、この日は吉益管財 人に対する「解任申立」を東京地裁に行なった。理由は、6月30日池袋店の店舗 明け渡しの際に、吉益管財人が「店舗内の物品を持ちだしたら刑事事件にする」 と発言し組合員の心情を大きく害したことだった。こうした会社寄りの管財人に 任せられないと、この日の「解任申立」になった。申立後の路上インタビュー で、ジョシ委員長は「お金も行く場所もない。日本政府にも助けてほしい」と訴 えていた。この日、シャンティユニオンのメンバー15人はお店から全員集合。厳
しい表情ながらも元気いっぱいに声をあげていた。(M) 写真速報動画(3分 半)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Settlement of Nikon contract worker dismissal case

On June 28th, an out-of-court settlement was reached in the dismissal case of a contract worker at Sagamihara Plant of Nikon Co.  in the Tokyo District Court. The plaintiff worked for the company for five and a half years as a temp agency worker and then was employed directly by the company as a contract worker. But he was denied renewal of his contract after the end of his first six month term. The Tokyo Youth Workers Union issued a statement on this case. “The settlement is amicable to the plaintiff. He joined our union to continue his fight for reinstatement. This settlement will be an encouragement to all casual workers. This victory showed the importance of casual workers  joining a union and fighting for their rights.” (Tokyo Youth Workers Union) 
Photo: Plaintiffs and supporters after the settlement

京地裁で争っていた、株式会社ニコン相模原製作所の契約社員雇い止め事件が2016628日に和解解決をしました。以下、首都圏青年ユニオンからの声明から。「本和解は、原告本人が十分に納得できるものであると評価できる。この間の労働者派遣法と有期雇用契約を巡る労働争議において、『直雇用・正社員化』を願う労働者に厳しい判断が続く中で、今回の和解成立は画期的である。今回、ニコンで働いてきた原告が首都圏青年ユニオンに加入して争議をたたかい、 和解の道をひらいたことは、全国の非正規雇用で働く人々を大きく励ますことになったと確信する。本和解は、非正規労働者が労働組合に加入して、あきらめずにたたかうことがいかに重要かということを社会に示したものになった。首都圏青年ユニオン及び同顧問弁護団は、これからも非正規労働者の権利実現、労働条 件改善のためのあらゆる運動と連帯し、すべての働く者たちのために全力でたたかうことをここに改めて決意する。」(首都圏

“Aren’t we your family members?!” Anger boils up against Shanti President

15 workers at an Indian curry restaurant chain”Shanti” in Tokyo are on the brink of losing their jobs and housing. On June 27th, the owner, KODAMA Masayuki, and the bankruptcy administrator, came to the Minami Otsuka shop to talk with the workers for the first time. The shop was packed with mass media reporters. It was found that on June 24th, the court accepted the company's declaration of  bankruptcy and Kodama and that the administrator was now in charge of the company. Kodama told the employees, “I am sorry for the situation, which was caused by my ignorance. I treated you as family members and I still do.” The Indian and Bangladesh workers were furious at this remark. “If you think we are your family, why don’t you think about our wages. Your wife and children can eat. But our families we left in our country cannot eat. Aren’t they your family, also?!”(M)
Photo:  Kodama Masayuki

15 人の外国人従業員が「解雇・追い出し」の危機にあるインドカレー店「シャンティ」。6月27日夜、児玉政之社長(写真)が「破産管財人」と共についに姿を あらわした。南大塚店は、TBS・日テレ・フジ・NHK・朝日・毎日・週金などメディア取材陣でごった返した。この日わかったことは、会社および社長個人 の「破産」が裁判所で24日に認定され、会社の権限は破産管財人(吉益弁護士)の手に移ったことだった。児玉社長は「お騒がせして申し訳ない」「私の無知 ナアナアのせいだった」などと述べたが、誠意を感じるものではなかった。そして児玉社長が「従業員を家族のように思ってきた。いまもその思いだ」と述べる と、インド・バングラデシュの人たちの怒りが爆発した。「私たちを家族と思っているのなら、なぜ私たちの給料のことを考えてくれないのか。社長の奥さんと 子どもはご飯を食べている。私たちのインドの家族はいまご飯を食べられない。あなたの家族と私の家族はちがうのか!」(M)

Court case to stop discrimination against casual workers

On June 23th, witnesses were examined in the Tokyo District Court for the wage discrimination case of vendors in Tokyo Metro stations. More than 100 people gathered to hear the testimony. One witness was the president of the Tobu Union Metro Commerce Branch, USHIRO Yoshiko. She was transferred to Toyosu station from Myogadani station at the end of May. She spoke about the last day of her work at Myogadani station. “A client said thank you to me and gave me a handkerchief and a letter.” The letter said that Ushiro was a source of heartfelt kindness for the client. “I was glad to know that clients appreciated my .service, while the company did not.” Three other members also testified and the gallery sympathized with them, sometimes in tears and anger.(SASAKI Yumi)
Photo:The four plaintiffs at the reporting meeting

証言台に立つ後呂良子さんの声がつまった。30秒の絶句。そして続けた。「ありがとうと言われた。あとでハンカチと手紙をもらった。その手紙には『後呂さんはこころのオアシス』と書いてあった。会社には評価されないが、お客は見ていてくれたのだ。これからもがんばろうと思った」。彼女は茗荷谷売店から豊洲売店に5月末に異動したが、その最後の日のエピソードだ。20145月に始まったメトロコマース20条裁判が山場をむかえた。623日、東京地裁で証人尋問が行われた。4時間30分の長丁場、100人近くの傍聴人が押し寄せ入れない人が続出した。ズッシリと手ごたえのある法廷だった。原告4人の証言に、傍聴席は一体となって、ときに涙し、怒り、共感した。(佐々木有美) 動画(東部労組 38分) *写真=報告集会で訴える原告たち(弁護士会館)