Union strength gathering to win the fight

On February 19, the customary Shunto (spring labor offensive) rally was held at L-Osaka with Union Network hosting. After the hosts' greetings, the first to stand up and give a special report were the plaintiffs of the JAL case, fighting restructuring layoffs. Undaunted by the dismissal of their appeal to the Supreme Court, they showed us their will to fight.

Next, a report was heard from Yusei Union about the cases they have filed in the Tokyo and Osaka district courts over Article 20 of the Labor Contract Law. There were also proposals relating to several action plans, including strikes, for Shunto time. Then we heard an impassioned plea from two of the plaintiffs.

From the Secretariat, there was a call for participation in actions this spring: first of all in the 3/11 Springtime Osaka General Action; also in street demonstrations, called for by a lawyers' group, against the changes in the labor law; also peace/anti-war actions and anti-nuclear demonstrations. Finally there was a declaration of determination and request for help, mainly for unions that are in dispute; and we finished off with a strong chant of "Solidarity! Ganbaro!"

And by the way, speaking of Yusei Union's court fight, on February 26 Osaka Zenrokyo also held their own "Study Meeting to Think About the Labor Contract Law Article 20 Case" at L-Osaka in the South Annex. Giving a report was Mr. Inaoka Jiro of NPO Yusei Irregular Workers' Center "Yui". There also was an appeal from some plaintiffs themselves, who work at Toyonaka P.O. and Suita Senri P.O.

To briefly go over this court case again, it makes use of the "ban on unreasonable treatment due to having a limited term" in Article 20 of the Labor Contract Law passed in April of the year before last. It is a very meaningful case, that not only could correct disparities in treatment for the 190,000 irregular workers in Japan Post workplaces, but have an effect on improving conditions and realizing equal treatment for more than 2000 irregular workers. This is a fight we must not lose.

The plaintiffs' demands are: 1) that JP confirm that they are in positions where the pay regulations and working rules of regular employees apply; 2) that, of compensation paid over the past two years, whatever allowances have been paid to regular employees but not to the 12 limited-term workers be paid to them. Of these 12 plaintiffs, three are in Osaka, four in Hyogo, and two in Hiroshima. This case will be "a 10-year war, win or lose": they're saying that a long, drawn-out fight is inevitable. Which is why--and I think application forms for the supporters' group were handed out at both the Shunto rally and the study meeting--we would like to earnestly request financial support. Note that the next public hearing will be on April 20. Also, Zenrokyo is also considering holding more study meetings like this on the theme of irregular work in the future.

Furthermore, as was noted in the action proposals at the Shunto rally, there will be a Springtime Osaka General Action on March 11. This has been a regular event since the founding of Osaka Union Network, and is a dispute support action we in Osaka can be proud of. Just like last year, it will include demands and protest demos by eight unions in eight places, starting with Dentsu Godo's strike unity action.  Above all, Osaka City Hall, where we will gather in the afternoon, is fully loaded with problems. Kyoiku Gogo (EWA), the General Union, and Nakama Union are each respectively planning demand actions over the flag and anthem, employment for foreign English teachers, and the tattoo survey.  

From Osaka Zenrokyo News #284, March 2015

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