JCP supporters' association at faltering Snow Brand help workers speak out their minds

In late January, it was revealed that Snow Brand Food falsely labeled Australian beef as domestic beef to take advantage of a government buy-back scheme for helping local stockbreeders seriously affected by mad cow disease. It also falsely labeled Hokkaido-produced beef as a Kumamoto product, and a similar fraud was also uncovered at its meat packing centers, including one in the Kansai district.

On February 4, Snow Brand Food announced it will dismiss 1,000 part-time and contract workers on March 10. On February 22, the company announced that it will dissolve itself.

This series of fraud follows the incident in which the parent company, Snow Brand Milk Products accepted responsibility for the food poisoning incident in 2000.

Following last year's massive food poisoning, Snow Brand Milk Products closed down many of its plants. Seven more plants in Tokyo, Sendai, and Shizuoka will be closed by the end of March.

Facing this series of difficulties, workers are saying: "The company has learned nothing from the poisoned milk incident last year." Some people in managerial positions took off the company badges from their suit lapels as the badges were thought to be a symbol of shame.

Women workers in their 20s are asking each other, "When will you quit?" They say they feel desperate in such a gloomy atmosphere.

In the efforts to get over this gloomy mood, the Workers Association in Support of the Japanese Communist Party in Hokkaido began working with Snow Brand Milk Products workers. Modeled after the NTT (Nippon Telephone and Telegram) workers' experience, the association called on Snow Brand workers to come and discuss any problems they may want to talk about.

On the night of the discussion, participants spoke their minds.

"After the food poisoning incident, a reduced workforce has been forced to take up the same work loads as before, contrary to the company motto of 'safety first'."

Recalling that one of the Snow Brand group founders was a disciple of Tanaka Shozo, who stood firmly against the Ashio Copper Mine pollution in defense of workers and residents, a worker said that the founding spirit was to supply consumers with safe milk at low prices.

The JCP supporters' association is calling on Snow Brand workers to join together to check the ongoing moral bankruptcy in management so that discipline can be established in workplaces to produce and sell safe food.

The JCP supporters association is now aimed at further increasing dialogues with Snow Brand Food workers, including part-timers, to make parent Snow Brand Milk Products act responsibly to defend the jobs of subsidiary Snow Brand Food workers. (end)