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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 January 16 - 22  > 2008 Spring Struggle action policy for fighting poverty adopted
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2008 January 16 - 22 [LABOR]

2008 Spring Struggle action policy for fighting poverty adopted

January 19, 2008
Leaders of trade unions participating in the People’s Spring Struggle Joint Committee held a meeting on January 18 in Tokyo to finalize the 2008 Spring Struggle action policy to fight against the pro-big business government policies as well as the tyranny of large orporations.

Ban’nai Mitsuo, the Joint Committee chair and the president of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), gave the opening speech stressing that the task for this year’s Spring Struggle is to “fight poverty.” He criticized large corporations for continuing to greatly increase profits while disregarding the growing poverty rate.

Ban’nai emphasized that a wage increase of at least 10,000 yen a month is realizable if the large companies just use 2.6 percent of their internal reserve and that achieving a pay raise is the trade union movement’s task entrusted to it by the general public. He said the struggle to win this demand will require more union cooperation with organizations of other sectors, including small businesses, agriculture, and medical services, as well as women and youth groups.

The action policy proposed by the Joint Committee Secretary General Odagawa Yoshikazu (Zenroren secretary general) called for a wage increase of at least 10,000 yen a month, or 100 yen an hour, for all workers. It also demanded that the nation’s regional minimum wage, which is lower than the level of welfare benefits, be raised in line with the revised Minimum Wages Law.

Earlier in the day, about 600 members of the Joint Committee converged on the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to make their wage increase demand heard.

At the Nippon Keidanren head office, participants took the microphone in turns. A young worker said, “We can’t make ends meet because of pay cuts and increases in payments for social services.” A part-time worker said, “We are working part-time to try to earn a living wage. We need a raise to at least 1,000 yen an hour.”
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