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2016 April 27 - May 10 [LABOR]

editorial  87th May Day calls for end to Abe regime through cooperation with workers, opposition parties, peace activists, and citizens

May 1, 2016
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The 87th May Day has taken place amid the expansion of a new type of movement growing among various strata of people throughout the country in protest against authoritarianism and a war-fighting Japan which the Abe government seeks to create.

The Constitution of the International Labor Organization starts with the sentence, “Whereas universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice.” As the ILO Constitution stipulates, “humane conditions of labor” is one of the required fundamentals to world peace. Accordingly, trade union activities are inextricably linked to peace movements. In other words, the ongoing struggle to resist Abe’s attempt to turn Japan into a war-capable nation points to a responsibility of the Japanese labor movement to the world’s labor union movements.

The 8-hour workday principle is facing a severe crisis. This principle has long been an empty statement in Japan because the Japanese Labor Standards Act fails to set an upper limit on hours of overtime in the first place.

What the Abe government wants is the elimination of the work-hour regulations by adopting a “zero-overtime-payment” system. Not only that, his regime is attempting to rearrange the existing labor system for the sake of large corporations. For example, it wants to legalize dismissals if employers pay severance pay to employees discharged and wants to introduce a “limited regular employee” system under which they are exempted from overtime work regulations and transfers but have to accept lower wages and a higher probability of dismissals than conventional full-time workers.

In the face of widening social disparities, Prime Minister Abe recently mentioned the necessity of complying with the “same job, same pay” principle. Trade unions in Japan must now cooperate more closely with the four opposition parties (JCP, DP, SDP, People’s Life) in order to make the principle truly effective and to stop employers from using this “equal pay for equal work” concept to reduce regular workers’ wages. Already, the opposition force has jointly submitted bills to the Diet to restrict long working hours and raise wages for nursing-care and childcare workers.

Cooperation among workers, the four opposition parties, peace activists, and citizens can change politics. Let’s make the 87th May Day a springboard to further strengthen people’s joint efforts to establish a new government.

Past related articles:
> May Day rallies call for increasing struggles against Abe’s war legislation and labor deregulation [May 2, 2015]
> Workers in May Day rallies resolve to fight against Abe’s ‘labor reform’ [May 2, 2014]
> May Day rallies aim at wage hike to counter deflationary economy [April 27 & May 2, 2013]
> 21,000 workers hold May Day rally in Tokyo [May 2, 2012]
> May Day rallies throughout Japan focus on recovery from disaster [May 2, 2011]
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