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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 March 5 - 11  > JMIU in Spring Struggle focuses on the issue of poverty
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2008 March 5 - 11 [LABOR]

JMIU in Spring Struggle focuses on the issue of poverty

March 10, 2008
The All-Japan Metal and Information Machinery Workers’ Union (JMIU) is putting great emphasis on the issue of poverty in this year’s Spring Struggle for wage increases and better working conditions.

On March 8, about 2,000 workers took part in a JMIU rally and later marched in demonstration through the Harajuku district of Tokyo, an area popular with young people. They were holding placards that read, “Young workers want a bright future,” “Establish rules for decent working conditions,” and “Pay raises for all workers.”

Noting that the prime minister has made an unusual move to request the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) to raise workers’ wages and that parliamentary moves to improve the Worker Dispatch Law are underway, JMIU Chair Ikuma Shigemi said, “Let us take advantage of these new political developments to use this year’s Spring Struggle to set a real stage for improving our workplaces and daily lives.”

A 45-year-old participant, Koizumi Ryuichi, said his company offered a pay raise of only 10,000 yen per month in response to workers’ demand for a raise of 30,000 yen, although its profits have increased substantially. “I have a budget shortfall of tens of thousand yen every month. We will work to have a part of the company’s increased profits returned to the workers,” he said.

The JMIU held a similar rally in Osaka City on March 1, attended by about 1,000 people. Speakers included a worker of Koyo Sealing Techno Co., where the union struggle has paved the way for temporary workers to be employed directly by the company and a worker who exposed the company’s illegal use of “independent contractors in disguise.”

On March 2, about 250 workers took part in a rally in Hamamatsu City, with the largest ever participation by foreign workers who are employed by various suppliers in the city.

As of March 4, 107 of 217 JMIU branches have received from their employers responses to their wage increase demands. Employers have offered to increase wages by about the same amount as last year. But considering the recent increases in the price of daily necessities, the net incomes of workers will decrease. The JMIU has renewed their struggle for drastic wage increases.
- Akahata, March 10, 2008
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