National meeting held to develop struggles against arbitrary corporate restructuring

A national meeting was held on March 30 in Tokyo to discuss ways to effectively develop the struggle against arbitrary corporate restructuring. About 400 trade union activists, workers, small- and medium-sized business owners, and women activists took part in the discussion.

Participants from throughout the country exchanged their experiences in their fight for the protection of jobs and local economies.

Speaking on behalf of the meeting organizers, National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) President Kobayashi Yoji stressed that the meeting was the first to be jointly organized by Zenroren, the Japan Lawyers Association for Freedom, the Japanese Communist Party, the National Federation of Traders and Producers Organizations (Zenshoren), and the New Japan Women's Association (Shinfujin).

Kobayashi also drew attention to the fact that the politicians, bureaucrats, and business circles are promoting corporate restructuring by forcing stock-holding companies to make the restructuring more effective and that many companies are forcing workers into giving consent to management's restructuring proposals.

Bannai Mitsuo, Zenroren secretary general, reported that during the past year 411 new trade unions have been established by those workers who had little interest in trade union activities previously.

Japanese Communist Party Diet Policy Commission Chair Kokuta Keiji stressed the importance of getting workplace regulations established in order to prevent corporations from carrying out restructuring in disregard of the Labor Standards Law or labor contracts.

Kumagai Kanemichi, Zenroren vice president, said that trade unions, as the major player in the struggle for job security, should let workers know that the current restructuring programs are unlawful, unjust, and absolutely unreasonable.

Pointing out that all workers are targets of restructuring, he said that struggles against restructuring should be based on all workers' demands, irrespective of their working status or positions.

Iwasaki Shun, Telecommunication Industry Workers' Union chair, reported that in the struggle against NTT's 110,000 job cut plan the union's branches are expanding cooperation with the other trade union of NTT.

Yamamoto Hiroaki, JCP branch head at the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation Itami Office, said that young workers and workers in managerial positions are angry at the management proposal to cut wages in the Spring Struggle.

Takada Kimiko, Shinfujin vice president, said that a Shinfujin member was so worried about her husband working overtime without pay that she went to a local Labor Standards Inspection Office, asking it to help improve his working conditions. (end)