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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 April 24 - May 7  > May Day rallies call for wage hikes far outpacing inflation and for people-centric recovery from 2024 Noto quake
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2024 April 24 - May 7 TOP3 [LABOR]

May Day rallies call for wage hikes far outpacing inflation and for people-centric recovery from 2024 Noto quake

May 2, 2024

On May 1, braving the rain, the 95th Central May Day rally took place in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park with 12,000 people, mainly union workers, participating. After the rally, participants paraded through Tokyo’s main downtown shopping areas, chanting their demands, calling for substantial wage hikes exceeding the inflation rate, prevention of an adverse revision of the Labor Standards Act, and people-centric measures to support regions affected by the January 1 massive quake.

National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) President Obata Masako delivered a speech on behalf of the May Day organizing committee. She pointed out that in this year’s “shunto” spring wage offensive, unions entered the spotlight through their fight to win higher wages for all workers with the use of strike threats. “Under this situation, we’re celebrating this year’s May Day,” she said.

Pointing out that the government, under the pretext of “labor-management autonomy”, intends to meet the business circles’ labor deregulation demands, the Zenroren president called on the participants to launch a movement to thwart such an attempt.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Tamura Tomoko in her speech in solidarity said, “Let us work together to further develop the Zenroren-style union movement which advocates the principles of being independent from capital and political parties and pursuing united action based on common demands! Let us work together to win substantial wage increases in order to survive the current cost of living crisis!”

A message from a civil group working in quake-hit Ishikawa Prefecture to support quake victims was read out to the gathering. In the message, the group appealed for the need to implement reconstruction measures that meet victims’ demands.

At the rally venue, Kikuchi Katsuhiko, member of the Japan Metal, Manufacturing, Information and Telecommunication Workers’ Union (JMITU) who works at Suzuki Shutter Corporation, said “Following strike actions which the union carried out four times in this year’s wage offensive, the company offered a monthly pay increase of 11,500 yen in the first-round of wage bargaining. But this falls far short of our demands, so we will continue to negotiate with the company to achieve our goal. An increase in the number of young union members provided energy and enthusiasm to the union’s fight.”

On this day, sister rallies and parades were held at more than 230 locations across the nation.
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