We’re gearing up for a busy, busy November!・超多忙な11月の活動の準備を進めています!

Kyoto Sangyo University Organising Action・京都産業大学組織化活動Saturday, 29 October leafletting・09:45 - 10:45・10月29日(土)ビラまきMeet at Kita-Oji Station (Subway Karasuma Line)・09:15・北大路駅(地下鉄烏丸線)集合

RSVP: I’ll be there・参加します 
***Please be on time as bus leaves at 09:30.


6 November Hybrid, Bilingual Symposium・

Part I: Workers in Japan, What Future? Inequality and Poverty Widening・「日本における労働者、その未来は 」(不平等・貧困拡大)
Part II: Refugee Situation in Japan・日本における難民の現状

More info・詳しく RSVP・参加申込 


Kan-Nama Otsu Case: Prosecutor Makes Final Argument•関生大津事件論告求刑公判

The prosecution made its final arguments in the first Otsu case against the Zennikken Kansai Regional Ready-Mix Concrete Branch (Kan-Nama) at the Otsu District Court in September 13. The outline of these final arguments stretched to 118 pages, which the prosecutors read out in an unclear voice over three hours, with two breaks.



6 November: GU Hybrid Symposium

 Sunday, 6 November・11月6日(日)14:00 to 17:00
RSVP Attendance here・参加申し込みはこちら

Hybrid Meeting: L-Osaka Minami-Kan (South Annex) Rm. 72 or ZOOM

Language: Japanese/English bilingual meeting with interpretation


2020 Sanken Dispute Over!

The workers of the Sanken Korea sub-branch of the Metalworkers’ Union, Gyeongnam Branch (member of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions) have announced an end to their dispute with Sanken. A full 742 days after Sanken Electric, the Japanese parent company of Sanken Korea, staged its fake-dissolution fire-all-workers attack in July; after tent sieges in Changwon and Masan; after a further 148-day tent siege in Seoul, and a seventeen-day sit-in at the APTC office; and after a fourteen-day hunger-strike sit-in; the union has finally won a labor agreement, and ended the dispute.

The exact contents of the agreement have not been made public. But the Sanken Korea sub-branch members themselves have released a written “position statement”, in which they say that “our twelve union members have fought a dispute against powerful capital that was backed up from Japan, and left behind a valuable result from the fight--one which, though it cannot truly be called a victory, can absolutely never be considered as a defeat.” This one sentence contains the myriad of emotions of the workers themselves. We believe with all our hearts that, first of all, these should be accepted and honored.


Union City Blues - by David McNeill

Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan

Writer David McNeill does a fabulous job of presenting the current Kan'nama union busting situation in a very clear light.

The General Union has put out many articles about the Kan'nama situation as well as participated in rallies and demonstrations, and raised money for the defence of the arrested 88 union members.

We hope that this article helps make things even clearer.


Send Free Online FAX to Kyoto Gaidai・京都外大に無料でオンラインFAXを送りましょう

Thank you for standing by David. 

1. Download fax template・FAXのテンプレートをダウンロードしてください。

a. Save to your computer・ご自分のコンピュータに保存してください。.

b. Fill it in and save again・必要事項を記入し保存してください。

2. Go to https://www.gotfreefax.com/Fax-to-Japan.aspx to access free, online fax.

https://www.gotfreefax.com/Fax-to-Japan.aspx から無料オンラインFAXのサイトに入ってください。

3. Send fax to Dr Tetsushi Horikawa, Chancellor and Chair of Kyoto Gaidai・堀川徹志京都外国語大学 理事長・総長宛にFAXを送ってください。Download the bilingual instructions here  日英の手順解説がここにあります。

Fax number・番号: 075-311-8989

Use the union's sign in details: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
組合のサインイン情報を入力してください: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PIN: 0741

If you have any difficulties, please let us know・不明な点があればご連絡ください。


Building a stronger GU and labour movement in 2022

A happy New Year to all members and supporters.

We would especially like to extend a warm welcome to our new Kyushu members as the Fukuoka General Union has merged with our union as of 1 January.

Today is 4 January and the union is already facing a busy calendar to kick off the new year.

Collective bargaining is being set for Takarazuka Board of Education, Ashikaga Board of Education, ALC Education, GABA, ECC, Doshisha Girls School, Osaka University, Kyoto Gaidai, and Nagoya International School. Issues at these workplaces range from individual grievances to job security and dealing with the pandemic in 2022.


Partial Victory in the Kan’Nama court cases 

Monday, 13 December was the Osaka High Court decision in the Kan’Nama cases.

One of the defendants was acquitted (he has been dismissed because of the first trial decision), and the other defendant was fined 300,000 yen. This was a partial victory. We haven't heard the complete details of the verdict, but it's a step forward from the first court decision which ignored the constitution. The Kyoto District Court found one defendant guilty of "attempted extortion" for demanding a work certificate from a nursery school.


Yamahara Katsuji - Memorial - 27 September

Please join us via zoom on Sunday, 27 September at 1930 for a celebration of his life. You can RSVP your attendance at www.bit.ly/Yamahara.

---Obituary 24 July 2020--- 

He was known popularly to General Union members simply as Yamahara. No mister, no sir; just affectionately called Yamahara - and one of the most unpretentious people you could have ever met.

On 23 July 2020, Yamahara passed away quietly at his home 73 years after his birth in Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka.

A union organiser since finishing school, Yamahara worked for many years for the General Council of Trade Unions of Japan (Sohyo) affiliated Metal and Machinery Workers Union (Zenkin) until its merger into the Japan Trade Union Confederation (Rengo). (see www.bit.ly/YamaharaObituary to keep reading).


Abe Government Attempts to Smash Labor Union in Kansai

From the Shingetsu News Agency (27 January, 2020)

In December, Yoichi Take of Kan'nama Union, and General Union officers and an interpreter met the Shingetsu News Agency for an interview.  

SNA (Tokyo) — Largely ignored by the mainstream media, the Abe government has been engaged for several years in one of the most aggressive and unconstitutional efforts to smash a small industrial labor union in Japan’s Kansai region, including mass arrests of union members.

The full name of the union in question is the Kansai District Ready-Mixed Concrete Branch of the All Japan Construction and Transport Workers Solidarity Union, but it sometimes goes by the shorter name "Kannama" for simplicity’s sake.

KEEP READING at the Shingetsu News Agency

Abe Government Attempts to Smash Labor Union in Kansai

From the Shingetsu News Agency - 27 January 2020

In December, Yoichi Take of Kan'nama Union, and General Union officers and an interpreter met the Shingetsu News Agency for an interview.  


SNA (Tokyo) — Largely ignored by the mainstream media, the Abe government has been engaged for several years in one of the most aggressive and unconstitutional efforts to smash a small industrial labor union in Japan’s Kansai region, including mass arrests of union members.

The full name of the union in question is the Kansai District Ready-Mixed Concrete Branch of the All Japan Construction and Transport Workers Solidarity Union, but it sometimes goes by the shorter name “Kannama” for simplicity’s sake.

Kannama is among the minority of Japanese unions that is an industrial union, not the in-house union of a single company, and its members consist of workers inside ready-mixed concrete plants and the drivers of the concrete trucks who transport the wet concrete to construction sites throughout the Kansai region.

KEEP READING at the Shingetsu News Agency


Postal Workers Union: Sign the Petition for Equal Treatment of Non-regular Postal Workers, and for Regular Employment!

Add your name to the Postal Worker Industry Union's petition for equality for non-regular workers.

General Union members know what it is like to work as a non-regular employee: one year contracts, sometimes even shorter, no bonus, no retirement allowances, and unequal treatment compared regular workers doing similar jobs at your workplace.

The Postal Workers Industry Union (Yusei Union) members know this too ,and that's why they have been running a long campaign to get rid of these differences and make sure that all workers are treated equally and with dignity. 

You can read more about their campaign for equality here.


We Stand Against the Arrest and Detention of Kan'nama Union Activists

The arrests of union leaders and activists of the All Japan Construction and Transport Solidarity Union - Kansai Ready Mix Concrete Branch (Kan'nama) continues.

The chair of this union has been in detention for over one year.


Serious Repression against Kan’nama and the Industrial Unionism : Seminar Report

The General Union adopted a special resolution to support the Kansai District Ready-Mixed Concrete Branch of the All Japan Construction and Transport Workers Solidarity Union (more commonly referred to as Kan'nama) at the AGM in May and has been participating in various activities to support this union against unprecedented attacks.

On July 20, we held a seminar to further deepen our understanding of the union's history and activities, and the reasons and background of this assault on union rights.
Accepting our request, Mr.Youichi Take, the General Secretary of the union came to our office as a speaker. Aaron Bucky, an Executive Committee member of General Union took the role of a translator.
In the seminar, reports, questions and answers continued for one and a half hours without a break.
Mr. Yoichi Take's reports and answers to questions were all clear and concrete.

Below are the contents of this seminar.  


Special Appeal and Request for Support

Donate to the defence fund!

※ 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?


Stop Police Suppression Of Union Activities

Rentai Union Kan-Nama Branch (All-Japan Construction and Transport Workers’ Solidarity Union, Kansai Regional Ready-Mix Concrete Branch) has been subjected to an unprecedented crackdown by prefectural police in Osaka and Shiga Prefectures. Many of our fellow members have been arrested and re-arrested.

Osaka and Shiga Prefectural Police are treating Rentai Union Kan-Nama Branch as racketeers that interfere in civil affairs and threaten violence. Thus, they have concluded that collective bargaining is “blackmail”, and that all kinds of protests and other group actions are “forcible obstruction of business” and “extortion”. 


2018 Government Negotiations Report

On November 5th, 2018, the Education Unions Group of Zenrokyo Zenkoku Ippan (National Union of General Workers), with guidance from NUGW Central and the cooperation of the office of Diet member Tomoko Abe, held negotiations at the Diet members' Office Building with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW).

The purposes of these negotiations were: to present our demands for appropriate solutions to several major issues we are facing; to inquire what the position of the authorities concerned was; to find out through discussion some ideas that might contribute to solving the problems; and in addition, to secure concrete routes for future useful exchanges of information with the relevant departments. 


New Year’s Day Action at Osaka Prefectural Police to Protest Kan-Nama Crackdown

At 10:00am on the morning of January 1, 2019, about two hundred workers and citizens gathered in front of the Education Tower in Osaka Castle Park to hold a rally and demonstration in protest against the series of crackdowns on the Zennikken Kansai Nama-Kon (Kan-Nama) Branch.

Acting chair Sakada of the Kan-Nama Branch stood to give the opening speech, making the case that “we must not allow state suppression of legitimate union activity” and that “although there is no injury and no victim, our fellow members are unfairly detained”.


We Protest the Outrageous Union Busting of the Zennikken Kansai Nama-Kon Branch!

– statement from Osaka Zenrokyo (National Trade Union Council - Osaka)

Organized union busting is continuing against the Kansai Nama-Kon (ready-mix concrete) Branch of the All-Japan Construction and Transport Solidarity Union (abbreviated name Zennikken, nickname Rentai Union). Kan-Nama (as the branch is nicknamed) has been on the receiving end of crackdowns several times already, but they continue to put up a determined fight. If union demands become “extortion”, and strikes become “obstruction of business by force”, then no labor union will be able to do anything at all. At the recent Executive Committee meeting, Osaka Zenrokyo decided to issue a statement of protest. The complete text is printed below. 


May Day Rally (2018)

Tuesday, May 1st (2018) is May Day throughout the world.Tuesday, May 1st (2018) is May Day throughout the world.

In Japan, our May Day slogan this year is: We Demand A Living Wage For An Eight Hour Day!

As you know, it is impossible to live in Japan on minimum wage, and the General Union (along with many of our sister unions) have signed petitions demanding that the government raise the minimum wage a ¥1,000 an hour NOW, and then to ¥1,500 an hour in the NEAR FUTURE.


Do You Have To Pay NHK's Fees?

It has been a topic that has been debated for years, but the Supreme Court has finally passed judgement - and it appears that they've decided that NHK fees are something you must pay...


Labor Bulletins

This page contains links to our Labor Update bulletin; reporting information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan that are of interest to activists.  You can check here for our most recent bulletin or subscribe to our e-news to receive it direct to your mail box.


May Day Solidarity Message from the 27th Kyoto Regional May Day

88th Nakanoshima May Day
To All Participants
Message of Solidarity

To all our friends who participated in the 88th Nakanoshima, Osaka, May Day: we would like to pay our respects to your fight for protection of workers’ rights, for peace and against war, and for international solidarity. The 27th Kyoto Regional May Day Executive Committee, sharing your determination to fight, will hold a rally and demo at Sanjo Kawara, 60 kilometers upstream from Nakanoshima. Our slogan is “Down with Abe’s Administration of War, Constitutional Revision, and Poverty! The fight connects on May Day!”

The Trump Administration, which forcibly bombed Syria, is now putting pressure on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea through joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, creating a danger of war on the Korean Peninsula. The Abe Administration has taken this as a rare opportunity to proceed with building a new base in Henoko, expanding the base in Iwakuni, strengthening the U.S.-Japan joint strategic system in order to make war alongside America all over the world, and other ways of making Japan into a war state. With counterterrorism as the excuse, they plot to pass a conspiracy law so that they can suppress workers’ and the people’s struggles in their budding stages, and have announced that they will push on to their final endgame of changing the Constitution. They are also strengthening their moves toward restarting the nuclear power plants, such as having the Osaka High Court approve the restarting of the Takahama plant.

In order to “make Japan the easiest country for companies to do business in”, they also are continuing with attacks, centering on the gutting of the Labor Standards Law, that are aimed at tearing up by the roots the system of legal protection for workers. While promoting corporate tax cuts, they raise the expenses of Social Insurance and so on. Workers’ disposable income decreases, and life only becomes harder and harder.

The “trickle-down” theory, that if large corporations made a profit then many small and mid-size businesses would also see the benefits, has completely collapsed. Many workers at small and medium-sized companies, along with irregularly-employed workers, have seen their lives get worse until even their right to live is threatened. It is becoming clear that these men and women have no choice but to form unions and fight to protect their own lives.

Forcing us into war and poverty is the Abe Administration’s character. There is just one way to stop these attacks: solidarity with working people all over the world in labor movements, citizens’ movements, and unified people’s struggle. Your May Day Committee has called for international solidarity against war and for peace, and continued to defend the lives of mid- and small-business workers and irregular workers. We are certain you will keep moving forward in the fight. Let us affirm the spirit of May Day, “unity and solidarity among workers of all countries”, and struggle together for the realization of a society where working people can live securely.

May 1, 2017
27th Kyoto Regional May Day
Executive Committee

Autumn General Meeting & Public Seminars

Sunday, 8 November AUTUMN GENERAL MEETING & Public Seminars

L-Osaka (5 minutes from Temmabashi Station on the Keihan/Tanimachi line – map)

RSVP here if you haven’t yet done so.

This year’s theme is “Strengthening Branches, Strengthening the Union” and it’s a place where we hope to arm you with the knowledge to protect yourself, get your opinions on what will make the union stronger, and how to make sure that your own know how as a union member can be put to better use.


Zenrokyo Youth Committee Founding and General Meeting

On Saturday, August 22nd, thirty trade unionists attended a general meeting at Shinmei Plaza in Minato-ku, Tokyo, to establish a Zenrokyo Youth Committee. Three member of our local organisation, Osaka Zenrokyo Youth, also attended. Mr. Kanasawa, the Chair of Zenrokyo, was there as a visitor.



Donate money to the General Union.


Sunday's Hanami CANCELLED

 With a 60% chance of rain, and heavy rain due from this afternoon, we have decided to cancel this Sunday's hanami.

If the skies do miraculously clear up, keep a check here and on our Facebook page. We might decide to do a bring your own style picnic/BBQ.


2015 Shunto - restarting the fightback

The 2015 Shunto (spring labor offensive) will be starting soon. Still, we haven't been hearing anything recently that sounds "prosperous" for us workers and our unions, or can put us in a good mood.


"Dissolution Without a Cause" -- lower-house election begins

We must deal a blow to the arrogance of Abe's LDP-Komeito administration!

It was unimaginable just one month ago, they have forced a dissolution of the House of Representatives and a general election. Even most of the mass media are calling it a "dissolution without a cause", but after a commotion where even some voices from within the LDP called the move meaningless, the election schedule has been set for the hectic year-end season. There are many rumored reasons for this.


Time for a pay rise! Open Seminars Sunday Oct 19 - All Welcome!


General Union September Picnic

Sunday, 28 September from 1pm



Riverside by the union office (see link for map)
1,000YEN for food and we sell the booze.

Hope to see you there!

The Great GU Wage Survey

In order to gain a better understanding of wages, working conditions, and job security, mainly for those involved in language education, the General Union is conducting a survey. We hope to use the information that we gather to help in future negotiations over wages and conditions.


Subscribe to e-news

March 11 – A reminder of workplace safety

All across Japan today, people will be remembering the loss of life in 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. In the midst of remembering it is important that we reflect upon workplace safety.

What measures have your employers taken to protect you?


L-Osaka Directions

L Osaka: This is the home of the Osaka District Labor Commission and other Labor facilities. Many union meetings are held here but not all. Please check.

Address: 〒540-0031 大阪府大阪市 中央区北浜東3−14

Station: Temmabashi (Osaka). Keihan and Tanimachi subway lines.



Additional information