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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 October 22 - 28  > Working women share experiences at annual national rally
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2008 October 22 - 28 [LABOR]

Working women share experiences at annual national rally

October 26-27, 2008
On October 25 and 26, about 770 working women from around the country held the annual national assembly to share experiences in their struggle under the theme, “Protect Article 9 and utilize the Japanese Constitution and establish rules of employment to ensure jobs with dignity.”

The assembly was sponsored by the organizing committee consisting of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) Women’s Section and other women’s organizations, including groups of women farmers, traders and producers.

In the plenary session on the first day, Isezaki Kenji, a professor at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Graduate School, gave a speech titled, “Country with Article 9 should contribute to ‘conflict prevention’.”

Women workers fighting for women’s equality and for workers’ basic rights called on participants for support.

A woman from a plaintiffs’ group in the lawsuit against the general trading company Kanematsu Corp. spoke about their struggle demanding compensation for discrimination against them in wages under a personnel management system that divides employees into two categories, the “career track” and the “office work track.” She said, “All female workers are assigned to general office work. Even at retirement age, their salaries will never be higher than those for 27-year-old male workers.” She called for help in petitioning the Supreme Court for an order to redress discrimination in wages against women employees.

A support group member of Kawasaki Ayaki from China called on participants for support for her court struggle against Tokyo Biso Kogyo Corp., a building maintenance services company, demanding an apology and prevention measures for sexual harassment.

Participants in the rally took part in workshops on the second day.

At the session titled “Women and Poverty”, a participant spoke about her 27-year-old daughter who quit her full-time job because she was forced to work from 7 a.m. to midnight almost everyday.

One contingent worker said, “Whenever my contract expires, I have to get enrolled in the National Insurance System. I make it a rule not to pay the insurance premium and refrain from going to hospital as much as possible while I search for another job.”

At the session dealing with mental healthcare for working women, a full-time worker from Aichi Prefecture said, “I get panicked at the workplace because of heavy workloads I have had to take up due to the fact that a position that was vacated after a worker retired was not filled. I really want my company to take our mental health care seriously as well as hire more workers, demands that are supported by our union.”
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