Make 2016 a year of struggle! Let each union share their experience and together fight the good fight

2015, a year that will surely mark the start of a new era, is over. A new year has begun. This year even more than last, the Abe Government--based on that market fundamentalism they call “neo-liberalism”--is working on gutting the Constitution in order to push forward with military development jointly with the United States. When we look at the recent loosening of labor regulations, it looks just like some primitive kind of capitalism has come back to life, as if policy is now being made solely from the point of view of capital.

 

For businesses it has become a matter of course for capital to put its own (shareholders’) profits first in developing their business. Fighting unions have disappeared from large companies, and workers are divided up at the whim of capital. Long hours and competitive rivalry have become the norm in have become the norm in the workplace. The loss of solidarity is giving rise to many mental disorders; irregular workers, unable to become regular employees, are everywhere; low wages and unstable employment are rampant. Young people are unable to have hope for the future, unable to get married, and have no way of providing for the next generation. Even the passing down of work skills has become difficult. What a severe situation this is!

However, we think this situation is all the more reason why unions must come to the fore. We’ll join our knowledge and our strength together. From ferocious strikes to courtroom struggles using the Labor Contract Law, we’ll find original and imaginative strategies. Let’s win workers a right to live, and to live a proper life!

On the world front, the Abe Government looks at first sight to have gotten itself driven into making “a historic compromise on the comfort-women issue”. But the real intention of this is “to make past things past, and not hand them down to the future”. This is why a great backlash is now occurring in Korea. What the government and people of Japan really ought to do is to make apologies and reparations to victims, and then furthermore to “honestly address the history of aggression” since the Meiji era, “and not forget these things”. We ourselves, I think, are also expected to take initiative in establishing this within the Japanese society.

And so the 2016 Spring Labor Offensive begins. Our struggle is still not enough. There is a growing gap in the degree of struggle at different companies. We should fight hard wherever we can, to make an example. Then those unions whose initiative is not as strong can learn from watching the others. Let’s strengthen our solidarity with one another even more, to make this a year when we can feel proud to say we are Zenrokyo.

Translation from Osaka Zenrokyo News January 2016

 

 

 

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