Small/Med Joint Struggle "Status Report Exchange Meeting"
Ramp Up the Spring Struggle!
01 April 2005
On March 30th, RENGO held the 2005 Spring Struggle Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Joint Struggle "Status Report Exchange Meeting" in Tokyo drawing 270 attendees from affiliated organizations and local organizations of RENGO. RENGO, upon hearing the news of unions that had reached settlements in the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Joint Struggle, praised their progress by saying that "The number of unions seeking settlements in March has increased just as have the settlement amounts which are surpassing those of previous years. This can certainly be seen as a byproduct of the effective 'intensive negotiations' that were guided by industrial federations (affiliated organizations) as well as the results of the '1st public announcement' and 'enforcing the functions of the local Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Joint Struggle.' Due to the implementation of self-imposed negotiations, activities are making progress that stops increases in disparities deriving from differences in the size of enterprises."
Photo: Cheering in solidarity:
RENGO President Sasamori highly rated the result aggregation by saying that "last year, due to the efforts of the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Joint Struggle, we managed to gain an extra addition in wages but this year we pulled out results that were even higher than those of last year. This is proof of the effects of our new activities." He said "we have clearly showed the way toward one path of reform for the Spring Struggle and that is, small and medium-sized trade unions working on their own self initiative and by their own strength." He then told the audience how the unions, which have focused their efforts on the improvement of labor conditions for atypical workers and non-union workers, have increased in comparison with last year’s numbers and told listeners that "we want you to make the most of this and bring about the creation of a mighty wave." Moreover, President Sasamori spoke to participants about the labor contract struggle which includes such issues as intensified working hour management, continuing employment after the age of sixty, and activities meant to balance work and life: "(the struggle has been) contrived in many aspects and it is now exerting a synergetic effect within the struggle. We expect that those unions will continue their activities in the future."
RENGO General Secretary Kusano's general report was followed by reports made by other affiliates and local RENGOs based on their own situations: UI ZENSEN (The Japanese Federation of Textile, Chemical, Food, Commercial, Service and General Workers' Unions), JAM (Japanese Association of Metal, Machinery and Manufacturing Workers' Union), ZENKOKU-IPPAN (National Union of General Workers), JIDOSHA SOREN (Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers' Unions), Food RENGO (Federation of All Japan Foods and Tobacco Workers' Unions), KAMIPA RENGO (Japanese Federation of Pulp and Paper Workers' Unions), JEC RENGO (Japanese Federation of Energy and Chemistry Workers Unions), DENRYOKU SOREN (The Federation of Electric Power Related Industry Workers' Unions of Japan), RENGO Local of Tochigi, RENGO Local of Kagawa. Each of these representatives expressed their resolve with regard to their activities from April and after. Some of the opinions offered included the following statements: "Business owners are finally moving away from American style management and are now listening to our advocacy of the notion that 'enterprises are human resources'. These business owners are now beginning to realize that even in when in the midst of difficult circumstances, if they would only foster personnel and raise wages even in the slightest degree, then productivity will increase." "Parent companies are still continuing to demand lower unit costs just as they always have. There are industries with atmospheres in which workers are unable to work without worries over the escalation in excessive competition which is driven by deregulation. According to one survey, 70% of all workers feel anxiety over employment, although this figure marks a decrease from last year’s figures. However, no matter how severe the situation we find ourselves in, no system of checks and balances for management is working properly if we are not putting forth our demands. We hope that we can carve out a constructive position in the current struggle."
Upon hearing this, Koide Small and Medium-sized Unions Labor Committee Chair and RENGO Vice President announced the "Small and Medium-sized Unions Labor Committee (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Joint Struggle Center) Checklist" by way of summary.
After hearing a briefing on the status of settled unions in the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Joint Struggle, he praised their efforts by saying: "The number of unions seeking settlements in March has increased just as have the settlement amounts which are surpassing those of previous years. This can certainly be seen as a byproduct of the effective 'intensive negotiations' that were guided by industrial federations (affiliated organizations) as well as the results of the '1st public announcement' and 'enforcing the functions of the local Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Joint Struggle.' Due to the implementation of self-imposed negotiations, activities are making progress that stops increases in disparities deriving from differences in the size of enterprises."
On that basis, the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Struggle Center will set up the following settlement standards:
- Aim to capture some amount of monetary increase in order to maintain the wage curve.
- Seek to gain an extra portion of money in order to cover wage disparities, and so on, if those unions have demanded it.
- Obtain "350 yen more than last year's achievement or more than 4400 yen in pay raises a month."
Chair Koide made an announcement confirming that the Center would conduct the following activities from now on:
- Unions that have not yet settled their negotiations will endeavor to seek settlements that will surpass last year's achievements by referring to result aggregation and settlement standards. Further, they will promptly disclose the contents of their settlements through the industrial federations.
- Industrial federations and RENGO Locals will support unions that have not yet settled in their bid for their goals.
- RENGO Headquarters and RENGO Locals will disclose information on unions that have already settled in order to influence unorganized workers.