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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 April 22 - May 12  > Role of labor unions vital to overcome corona-induced calamity
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2020 April 22 - May 12 [LABOR]

Role of labor unions vital to overcome corona-induced calamity

May 4, 2020
A joint action, consisting of a number of labor unions working to establish an 8-hour work day system in Japan, on May Day released a video on the Internet, calling on all workers in Japan to unionize.

A labor expert and union activists appeared in the video to explain the "Three Recipes to Overcome the Coronavirus-induced Calamity": Do not give up your job and right to compensation, engage in discussions with each other, and work to organize a union at your workplace.

Hosei University Professor Uenishi Mitsuko pointed out, "The government is imposing 'a voluntary restraint', but most people will face poverty without compensation benefits. Rather than the post-corona travel promotion, countermeasures to protect the medical system and assist people's daily lives should be properly taken."

Kurosawa Koichi, deputy secretary general of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), reported on several successful outcomes which included the one in which taxi drivers won the withdrawal of the company's early retirement scheme and another one in which workers at an stand-up-eating chain restaurant won full compensation for loss of earnings. He stressed that unions had played an important role in both cases.

Zenroren Labor Research Bureau Director Ito Keiichi added, "The role of unions will be very important in formulating 'a plan to suspend or discontinue the business' which is necessary to apply for a government 'employment adjustment subsidy'."

Uenishi agreed with Ito by saying, "If a union exists, workers can directly talk to company management, and the utilization of government subsidies for workplaces can be taken."

Past related issues:
> Tokyo-based taxi firm uses the coronavirus crisis as pretext to force 600 drivers to accept early retirement [April 12 & 16, 2020]
> Protect workers from unfair dismissals under coronavirus outbreak [April 10, 2020]

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