Special Appeal and Request for Support

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※ If you are a union or organisation that would like to send a message of solidarity, please click here.

There is currently an unprecedented attack against a labour union in Japan.

This union is the Kansai District Ready-Mixed Concrete Branch of the All Japan Construction and Transport Workers Solidarity Union (more commonly referred to as Kan'nama).

In the past few months, about 60 union members - including several union officials - have been arrested, detained, and charged.

Why are we now witnessing something never before seen in the union movement in Japan?

Unions in Japan have historically been based around single companies.

However, Kan'nama (and some other unions such as the General Union) is different.

Seeking a way to seriously improve working conditions (Kan'nama mainly represents ready-mixed concrete truck drivers), this union has chosen the path of industrial unionism.

In order to deal with the dominance of several big companies in the industry, Kan'nama has thus worked hard to establish a cooperative of small and medium-sized companies.

This strategy has led to a considerable improvement in working conditions, the price of concrete products has been maintained at a reasonably high level, and the industry itself has become more democratised than ever before.

Japanese society, including the labour situation, is in the midst of profound changes.

Due to the changes, company-based unions will also need to decide on how to proceed.

If unions start looking at industrial unionism as exemplified by Kan'nama, the general situation of the labour movement in Japan will undoubtedly see significant changes as a result.

This is the real reason why Kan'nama is under such a severe attack by both the state and police.

During this attack, union rights guaranteed under the Constitution of Japan and the Trade Union Act have been completely ignored, making strikes by Kan'nama a crime and forcible obstruction of business.

Peaceful persuasion by Kan'nama has now become the crime of extortion, and some in the media are portraying Kan'nama as a violent criminal group although this is simply not true!

Defending Kan'nama from such vicious and unreasonable attack is all about protecting labor unions and our rights.

To that end, the General Union resolves that...

  1. We stand completely on the side of Kan'nama during these unprecedented attacks.

  2. All General Union members are strongly encouraged to sign a petition to both the Otsu and Osaka courts where the trials are being held.

  3. All General Union members are encouraged to make a personal donation to be used in the legal defense of arrested union activists.

  4. All General Union are encouraged to participate in weekly union action(s) at the Osaka Prefectural Police Headquarters, court sessions, and all other protest actions.

  5. The General Union involve itself in garnering international support for this struggle.

Read more about the Kan'nama struggle here and here.

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Sign the petition to the Osaka and Otsu courts here.

If you are a union or organisation that would like to send a message of solidarity, please click here.


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