Zenroren calls for urgent government measures to deal with increasing unemployment

The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) on October 29 made representations to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, demanding an increase in government funding for measures to help the unemployed.

The number of the unemployed in Japan has increased for 18 months in a row to reach 3.65 million in September. The government policy of pressuring the banks for the early disposal of non-performing loans, if carried out as planned, will add another 1.65 million to the number of jobless.

Zenroren called on the government to help the employed get and keep jobs, instead of forcing more workers out of jobs, by means of promoting shorter workweek, providing local governments with special subsidies for creating jobs, specifically 1.67 million jobs in the public sector.

It proposed that the payment of unemployment insurance benefits be extended so that minimum living conditions are secured for jobless people until they find employment.

The Labor Policy Council of the ministry on the day discussed a draft bill to be submitted to the next ordinary session of the Diet for adversely revising labor laws intended to stretch the discretionary working hour system and the short-term labor contract system.

Zenroren held a protest action against the adverse revision of labor laws in front of the ministry, and workers during their lunch hour took part.

Tajima Keiichi, secretary of the National Union of General Workers, Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) affiliate, who took part in the council discussion as a member, reported that the planned extension of the short-term labor contract system will only mean an increase in unstable employment conditions.

He said that the council is discussing the need for legal provisions for "appropriate reasons" as a requirement to make dismissals effective. (end)