plenary session of the House of Councilors approved a series of bills on
work-style June 29 in favor of the ruling and opposition parties. The laws
count eight in the number, which will threaten health and life of the working
population, risking their livelihood. Struggles are needed so that the laws
should not be implemented. Let’s intensify labor actions united with workers,
lawyers and families of victims of overwork.
ENACTED LAWS VIOLENTLY
the Diet session approved the laws, reportedly, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo told proudly
that it was the greatest reform after 70 years of enactment of Labor Standards
Act. As he used to employ a phrase, ‘overcoming the postwar regime’, his recent
remark looks natural. This is unacceptable, however, as it means another
violation of the Constitution (Article 27 = the right to work).
Keeps Replying Insincerely
Abe stated in his new-year address that the Diet session of this year would
focus on ‘reforming a work-style’. Diet debates continue with many
abnormalities. Incorrect data were presented to the session on the flexible
work hours, which has led to a removal of the topic that the business circle expected
with a hope.
misleading data were presented again in the Diet on working hours. Minister of
Social Welfare and Labor Kato Katsunobu kept replying insincerely until the end
of debates. Premier Abe evaded from meeting with families of victims of
overwork. He was not interested in listening to their earnest hopes.
parties fought resiliently in spite of a time limit, but the debates focused mainly
on introduction of a system of controversial work-hour deregulation. Other
issues remain untouched; the upper limit of overtime which exceeds a stage of
Karoshi (=a death from overwork), undermining of the working hour interval
scheme, the so-called ‘an equal pay for an equal work’ plan, which is far from
a solution of disparities, an obligatory use of paid day-offs and an increased
pay for overtime work in the medium-and-small sized businesses, etc.
approved eight laws in question accompany 47 additional resolutions. They do
not deserve as laws. In addition, a work-hour deregulation will be certainly
presented again and a monetary settlement of labor discharge will be put on the
agenda, too. We must watch the legislature carefully.
the labor side must analyze deeply the points disclosed during the Diet
debates. Despite the Article 36 agreement of the Labor Standards Act, overtime work
prevails rampantly; transport section workers routinely work overtime and they
cannot sustain without that and medium-and-small sized business entities cannot
comply with the rules of Labor Standards Act. Undoubtedly the Act itself is
Offensive- Not Successful
campaigns were not successful; the Zenroren (=National Confederation of Trade
Unions) and the Zenrokyo (=National Trade Union Council) held the National
Caravan against Aggravation of Labor Laws. The Lawyers for Labor committed in
concerted actions, but these activities were unfortunately defeated. The Rengo
(=Japanese Trade Union Confederation) leadership staged only nominal campaigns
due to their agreement with the government of the previous year. Other trade
unions did not wage effective struggles.
Democratic Party for the People left the opposition alliance in the last stage
of the Upper House debates. The fact poses uncertainties in the future efforts
to unite opposition forces.
must strengthen labor offensive in the workplaces and local communities across
the nation. We must fight strenuously in surging the minimum wage: ‘Let’s gain
\1,000 per hour at any workplace immediately! Let’s gain a minimum wage so that
we can live with 8-hour work a day, \1,500 per hour!