JTUC-RENGO Declaration on the Launching of the Spring Struggle for a Better Life – 2006

13 February 2006
Corporate performance has improved remarkably and the economy continues to expand. Some people are suggesting that the current business upswing may end up lasting longer than the “Izanagi business boom,” the longest business uptrend in Japan’s post-war history, which continued for 57 months from November 1965.

However, most Japanese workers do not feel that the improvements in business or the optimism are real. This is because the improvements in corporate profits have not brought about better wages. In other words, the increase in corporate earnings has not been re-distributed to the household budgets of working people.

While increasing the number of part-time, temporary and contract workers, who face low wages and insecure employment, management has been forcing longer working hours and unpaid overtime work on regular workers in return for jobs. Disposable incomes have been declining for seven consecutive years since 1998, and the proportion of households earning annual incomes of less than ¥2 million has been on the rise. One out of every four households has no savings. Thus, corporate profits have recovered on the basis of enormous sacrifices by workers.

Since management highly appraises the contribution of workers, stating: “the hard work of our employees has revived the Japanese economy,” they should respond to the efforts of workers by properly distributing the fruits of the improved corporate performance to workers, in line with the “Three Guiding Principles of Productivity.”

In the 2006 Spring Struggle for a Better Life, we are demanding the preservation and improvement of the wage curve and improved wages, and will make efforts to win these demands.

We will strive for further advance the “Joint Struggle Campaign for Workers Organized at Smaller Enterprises,” which is now in its third year, and at the same time will newly launch a “Joint Struggle Campaign for Part-Time Workers.” Through this campaign, we will aim to eliminate discriminatory treatment toward part-time workers on the basis that “they are part-timers, after all,” and to achieve equal treatment for them. By narrowing disparities in wages and other working conditions faced by workers at smaller enterprises, and by improving the treatment of part-time workers, we will apply brakes to the developing polarization in incomes and ways of working.

Unless the life of the people improves, it will be impossible to achieve stable growth of the Japanese economy.

In addition to the raising of pension premiums and the halving of the special tax reduction, the government is laying out a plan to raise taxes dramatically. RENGO will fight back with all our might to prevent these and other “planned increases in the burden share and reductions in benefit” targeting working people.

As organized labour, we will assume our role and responsibility to bring the Spring Struggle to unorganized workers through the disclosure of information on developments regarding the Spring Struggle, and thus endeavor to restore the unionization rate.

RENGO pledges that in solidarity with all workers, we will fight to realize a fair society that rewards those who work earnestly, and declare hereby the launch of the 2006 Spring Struggle for a Better Life.

Let us bring in a spring breeze for the living of working people under the catchphrase of “Distribute the Fruits of Our Labour to All to Raise the Level of Our Well-Being.”

February 3, 2006
February 3 Central Rally for the Declaration on the Launching of the 2006 Spring Struggle for a Better Life