The Launch of the 2016 Spring Offensive for a Better Life ~Feb. 5 Central Uprising Rally~

05 February 2016
Closing Cheers of General Secretary  Naoto Ohmi Closing Cheers of General Secretary Naoto Ohmi
RENGO President Rikio Kozu RENGO President Rikio Kozu
ITUC-AP President Felix Anthony ITUC-AP President Felix Anthony
RENGO Vice President Tomoko Yoshino RENGO Vice President Tomoko Yoshino

On February 5, with 2,040 people in attendance, RENGO held its Central Uprising Rally for the 2016 Spring Offensive for a Better Life in the Hibiya Public Hall, Tokyo.
The slogan was “Improved conditions for all working people! Realize a positive economic cycle through ‘raising and supporting the base level’ and ‘redressing disparities!’” At the beginning of the rally, RENGO President Rikio Kozu expressed his determination by saying, “This year’s Spring Offensive is about raising the base level, and we have four keywords.” “Sustainability”... We made certain advances in the 2014 and 2015 Offensives, but this 2016 Spring Offensive is extremely important if we are to have these gains lead to an escape from deflation and on to a positive economic cycle.
“Basic monthly wage”... The claim of Keidanren that “a rise in profits will be reflected in annual income” is totally meaningless. Do they understand the realities of the present-day society, where many non-regular workers receive no bonuses? Rather than be influenced by short-term profit trends, we will stick to our guns on raising the “monthly basic wage” issue in order to beat deflation.
“Widening”... We will insist on widening up the raising of the base level to include those who have no trade union or who have no wage system.
“Raising the base level”... Precisely because everyone in the same supply chain are all doing their best, and giving renewed consideration to the fact that products and services are being supplied, we insist on a correction of disparities and a raising of the base level.We have heard a greeting from Felix Anthony, ITUC-AP (International Trade Union Confederation-Asia Pacific) President, who has come to be with us today to give us this message of encouragement: “The widening of the issues of inequalities and disparities is also happening in the Asia-Pacific Region. I would like to see RENGO push forward the movement to correct disparities. Let all of us go forward strongly together!”

Finally, RENGO Vice President Tomoko Yoshino (JAM) read out the Offensive Launch Declaration and the rally was closed by General Secretary Naoto Ohmi giving the “gambaro (fight on) !” cheers.

Declaration of the Launch of the 2016 Spring Offensive for a Better Life,

The 2016 Spring Offensive for a Better Life is about to begin with the aim of moving toward a positive economic cycle through “raising and supporting the base level” and “redressing disparities.”

What we trade unions need to achieve now in order to “escape from deflation” and “realize a positive economic cycle” is to bring about the conviction throughout the whole of society that rises in the basic monthly wage will be sustained. We will especially make our utmost efforts for the improvement of conditions for local small and medium enterprises, and our colleagues, brothers and sisters who are working as non-regular workers, or who are working in workplaces that have no trade union.

In Japan’s society, as well as facing the structural problems of falling population combined with extremely low birth rates and aging, the distortion of distribution is becoming more serious on a macro level due to the widening of income disparities caused by discriminatory employment types and company size, increasingly large numbers of people in non-regular employment, and the long-term trend to suppress wages. It has not been possible to restore the damaged employment and working conditions. What is being asked of Japan’s economic society now is how will the conviction for a better tomorrow be built, and what is needed now to bring that about is the realization of economic growth with the premise of stability and improvement in the daily lives of the people.

While making full use of the mechanism of the Spring Offensives up to now, we will act to overcome the former structure of “merely following the standards of big companies.” While naturally making efforts by labor and management to realize just transactions in which the added value created throughout the whole supply chain is distributed fairly, we must ensure that the gains from the spring actions lead on to a rise in the minimum wage.

Every one of us, as members of the “cheering squad to raise the standard of living,” will make proactive efforts to regain hope and security for all working people and ordinary citizens, and to realize “a secure society based on work.” All of us in RENGO will work together; the affiliates, the RENGO local organizations, each of the trade unions, all the way down to every workplace, and will put up a persistent fight to win right to the very end.

RENGO hereby declares the launch of the 2016 Spring Offensive.

February 5, 2016
JTUC-RENGO Declaration of the Launch of the 2016 Spring Offensive for a Better Life
Feb. 5 Central Uprising Rally