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Shinobu Foods GU Filipino members set to strike!

シノブフーズ フィリピン人労働者は闘う!

Shinobu Foods Fukumachi Factory is a manufacturer of rice balls and packed sandwiches. They formerly employed many foreign dispatch workers, many of whom were from the Philippines. Since March this year they changed to direct employment of those workers, but with a pay cut of 100 yen per hour!

Why would the wages go down when the company must be saving the margins they formerly paid to the dispatch company ? The Filipino workers joined the General Union and began collective bargaining with Shinobu Foods by demanding a withdrawal of the pay cut. At negotiations the Union pressured the company to provide the reasons for the pay cut. The company responded by claiming that they “simply set the rate at the same level as the other directly-employed part-time workers – it’s equal treatment”, and showed no sign of compromise.

“There is power in numbers.” Union members began an effective drive to organize the workplace. The Filipino workers joined one after the other and in the end, we had about thirty members at the Fukumachi Factory out of a workforce of around three hundred. In response to the members’ strong feelings that the wages should be naturally higher with direct employment, the General Union established a policy that “negotiation on its own wouldn’t take us much further, we shall fight it through with strike actions in reserve until we win our demands.”

In talking with the Filipino members, the Union found that they were very worried about the idea of strike action. Many of them did not know about the three major workers’ rights (right to organize, right for collective bargaining, right for collective action). They were worried that, "if we go on strike, we will be sacked, "the police will come and get us," and "we will lose our visas and be deported."

The union organizer, using the English version of the Japanese Constitution (clause 28) and a summary of the Trade Union Law explained carefully the rights of the union and the workers. They were persuaded to fight alongside their co-workers and the Union to win the demands. With the full support of the branch members the General Union was ready for a battle.

At negotiations on April 16, 2010, Shinobu Foods continued to refuse to withdraw the pay-cut. The union declared that if the company does not accept our demands, thirty workers will go on strike. Representatives from Shinobu Foods wavered at the announcement, and changed their attitude completely: “We cannot afford to have strike action at the food factory. Could you avoid the situation in any way?”

The negotiations are currently ongoing, and we are on the brink of a strike. If Shinobu Foods accepts the union’s demands the strike can be avoided. If not, we have no choice but to go on strike.

We urge all union members to support our Shinobu Foods members during this dispute.



「数こそ力なり」と、組合員らが精力的にオルグした結果、フィリピン人労働者が続々と組合に加入し、300人規模の福町工場にて組合員数は30名程となった。 「直接雇用になったら、賃上げして当たり前だ。」との思いを抱く組合員に応える為、組合本部は「もはや団交だけでは事態は進展しない。ストライキを背景に要求貫徹まで闘う」との方針を確立した。


2010年4月16日、団交の場において、「賃下げ撤回」を相変わらず拒絶するシノブフーズに対し、私は通告した。「もし、会社が組合の要求を容れないなら、組合員ら30名はストライキに突入する。」 このスト通告に、シノブフーズ側出席者は色めきだった。「食品工場でストライキをされれば大変だ。何とかストライキを回避して欲しい。」と、それまでの交渉態度をがらりと変えた。


そこで、私は仲間に訴える。 「諸君、フィリピン人労働者らは各々の恐怖心を乗り越え、ストライキを決意した。 彼ら、彼女らの決意を見過ごし、その勇気を無視するならば、何をもっての労働組合か!諸君、国籍、人種の違いを超えて共に闘おうではないか。異国の地で闘いを決意した、我らが同胞と腕を結び!」

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