National trade union centers urge MPs to oppose adverse labor law changes

Alarmed by the ruling parties' rush for the enactment of anti-labor bills, about 750 union members of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) marched in demonstration from Hibiya Park in Tokyo to the Diet Building on May 7.

The Diet is considering the bills to amend the labor laws in order to make it easier for employers to dismiss workers.

The participants also called for the contingency bills, which the ruling parties are planning to railroad through in the House of Representatives in a few days, to be scrapped.

The day's action was also joined by university employees who are opposing the government bill to allow government-run universities to be run by independent administrative agencies. They say that the measure would undermine academic freedom.

A nurse from Yamanashi Prefecture said she was worried about the wartime legislation, saying, "The present government is incapable of saying 'No' to U.S. wars."

A Tokyo carpenter, 66, said, "Today, construction workers are the first to face wage cuts and lose jobs. If the labor laws are adversely revised, all workers will have to face such prospects."

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) carried out a sit-in with 500 people in front of the Diet Building on the same day opposing the adverse revision of the Labor Standards Law and the Temporary Staffing Law.

Rengo President Sasamori Kiyoshi said, "Employers will take the proposed labor law changes as the opportunity to further dismiss workers, the result of which will be an increase in part time jobs and temporary staffing. We cannot accept such a change."

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Zenroren's annual one-month campaign tour began on May 7 focusing on the demand that reasonable work rules and a democratic public employee system be established. Starting in Nagasaki City, marchers will help increase struggles against the undemocratic policies of the Koizumi Cabinet and for the realization of their keen demands. (end)

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