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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 November 14 - 20  > Rally held to demand an end to discrimination against former national railway workers
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2007 November 14 - 20 [LABOR]

Rally held to demand an end to discrimination against former national railway workers

November 19, 2007
About 700 people from around the country held a rally in Sapporo, Hokkaido, on November 18 to demand an overall settlement to the discrimination against 1,047 former Japanese National Railway (JNR) workers who were denied jobs at Japan Railway (JR) companies following the privatization and breakup of the JNR in 1987 on the grounds that they were National Railway Workers’ Union (NRU or Kokuro) members.

Fukushi Keizo, a member of the Sapporo group of NRU workers in dispute, stated, “Just as former Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro admitted, the breakup of the JNR was a major unfair labor practice. Forty workers in the ranks of the struggle (who were plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the discrimination) have died. We have been struggling for more than 20 years. I strongly wish that the dispute be settled using the government’s responsibility.”

Speakers who gave words of encouragement and expressed determination to fight through to the end included representatives from the NRU, the All Japan Construction, Transport and General Workers Union (CTG), the Hokkaido Liaison Council in Support of NRU Workers’ Struggle, and the All National Railway Locomotive Engineers’ Union (Zendoro) Dispute Group. After the rally, participants marched in demonstration through Sapporo City.

In the September 2005 ruling in a lawsuit filed against the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency that succeeded to the JNR Settlement Corporation in opposition to the discrimination against the former NRU members, the Tokyo District Court recognized that there had been discrimination against them.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) in November 2006 issued its 7th recommendation calling on the Japanese government for an early settlement of the dispute.

A court trial on a damages lawsuit field by the All National Railway Locomotive Engineers’ Union (Zendoro) was concluded last July. The ruling will be issued in December.

The former JNR workers’ struggle to end their labor dispute is at a critical stage.
- Akahata, November 19, 2007
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