was 30 years ago when the Sohyo, the General Council of Trade Unions of Japan,
was disintegrated to be the Rengo, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC),
as a national center of labor movements. Since then the movements have been led
by a rule of cooperation between employers and workers. Today trade union
movements are in jeopardy.
LABOR MOVEMENTS THROUGH JOINT STRUGGLES
November 21, 1989, the Rengo held a founding convention to elect Mr. Yamagishi
Akira as first Chairman of the workers’ organization. He was President of the
association of trade unions of information and communication industries. The
Rengo controlled 78 industries, covering 8 million workers, declaring to have
integrated four major trade union associations.
Mir Yamagishi was awarded with a first-class prize by the then-Emperor in April,
2000, for ‘his contribution’ that he unified the labor fronts. The Rengo has
been called ‘a federation cherished by capitalists’, as you know, in its
history. The then-prime minister Takeshita Noboru, who attended the reception
party, mentioned his cooperation and assistance to the Rengo.
the time of foundation, the Rengo leadership told that social influence would
be enhanced after uniting labor fronts. Today, however, members have been
reduced to 6.753 million as of 2018, and the center’s social impact has been
trade unions affiliated to the Japanese Communist Party established the
Zenroren, the National Confederation of Trade Unions, reacting to the new
confederation, calling it right-winger reorganization of labor movements and criticizing
its political line of anti-communism and labor-management cooperation. Other
unions like the Kokuro, the National Railway Workers’ Union,
and the Tororen, the Confederation of Trade Unions of Tokyo Metropolitan
Government Workers, asserting ‘to succeed the Sohyo movement without
affiliating with either of the new labor centers’, to establish the Zenrokyo,
the National Trade Union Council.
these labor organizations have diminished membership.
possibility of nationwide Labor Offensive
and social gaps have prevailed rapidly for the past 30 years due to flexible
employment practices. The social situation has been aggravated further by the downing
labor distribution rate and enhanced exploitation as well as the defunct income
redistribution measures, including public services. Repeatedly, corporate taxes
and income taxes have been reduced, which has led to deterioration of the
taxation rule that the rich pay more than the poor.
nationwide Spring Labor Offensive, which the Sohyo took initiative in a first
half of the decade of 1970, was in fact struggles between distribution and
redistribution of wealth. Its campaign could have been developed to unification
of demands of workers and citizens and a single political front against the
this very reason the financial circle and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party did
not admit the Sohyo and its existence.
strengthen joint struggles!
movements in the country today are in crisis. The Spring Offensive 2019 has
been ridiculed as ‘a dead offensive’. On the other hand, however, struggles have
been staged broadly beyond the national centers toward construction of a
the Abe government’s 2018 labor policy, ‘a working style reform and labor law
revision’, the Zenrokyo and the Zenroren have begun to wage common struggles. A
nationwide campaign has been launched to demand a surge of the minimum wage by
the joint action committee.
national meeting will be held in coming December of the Rounken, the Action
Committee for Discussions and Rallies on Labor Movements, which endeavors to boost
and rebuild the movements. This will be the eighth round of event.
strengthen joint struggles! Let’s rebuild and develop labor movements!