Rally for Part-Time/ Contract Workers

Seeking Equal Treatment Legislation

28 February 2005
On February 18th, a "Rally for Part-Time/Contract Workers" seeking the realization of "equal treatment legislation" for part-time and other forms of workers was held at the Shakai Bunka Kaikan Hall in Tokyo. At the 2005 Spring Struggle, RENGO is promoting "continuous activities to realize the equal treatment and correction of disparities" as one of its tasks for the Minimum Movement that every union will work on. The rally drew 600 participants each of whom hardened their resolve in the hope that legislation might be put into place as soon as possible and said "No more biting your tongues. From today on raise your voices for the realization of equal treatment in the workplace." After the end of the rally, participants marched through Tokyo calling for the "Equal treatment of part-time workers!"

Photo: Participants march to appeal for the Photo: Participants march to appeal for the
At the outset of the rally, members of the Community Union Kansai Network and other atypical workers performed a skit entitled "Unbalance" which explained the necessity for equal treatment both enjoyably and comprehensibly. RENGO President Sasamori looked back by saying "the first time I saw this skit was during Action Route 47 conducted in November 2001. Although it has been three and a half years since that time, it has not improved even in the slightest. As president of RENGO, I am ashamed by this situation." He then said "we have no more time. Let RENGO, and the whole society, take part in redressing mistaken politics by driving a large wedge into them."

Fifteen national Diet members and secretaries, including the Democratic Party of Japan, the Chair of its Gender Equality Committee, Hiroko Mizushima, and the Social Democratic Party Leader Fukushima were among the participants. House of Representatives member Mizushima said "I proposed the ‘bill to secure equal treatment for short-time workers in relation to regular workers’ at the last ordinary Diet session, which has not yet actually entered deliberation. Promoting equal treatment is an important theme with wide social significance. Your continuing support would be gratefully appreciated." Social Democratic Party Leader Fukushima emphasized the need to "propel atypical employment issues into the mainstream" and that "we should work on the problems of equal treatment as well as those of fixed-term contracts together."

Honest opinions were also raised by those who are currently employed as part-time workers at long-term care worksites as well as workers in temporary part-time positions at local governments. Further, great determination for the realization of "equal treatment legislation" was expressed by ZENKOKU-IPPAN (National Union of General Workers) Central Executive member Kamezaki, UI-ZENSEN DOMEI (Japanese Federation of Textile, Chemical, Food, Commercial, Service and General Workers' Unions) Distribution Sector Policy Director Nagai, and JICHIRO (All-Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers Union) Organizational Management Department Assistant Director Aihara. In closing, the rally adopted the following appeals: "No more biting your tongues. From today on raise your voices for the realization of equal treatment in the workplace." "Encourage part-time workers to join trade unions and take that first step with them today." Afterwards, every rally participant marched through the central Tokyo area.