RENGO Statements and Views

Statement on “Economic Measures to Realize Investment for the Future”

03 August 2016
Japanese Trade Union Confederation - RENGO
Naoto Ohmi, General Secretary
  1. On August 2, the government gave cabinet approval to an economic package consisting of four pillars budgeted at 28.1 trillion yen, including “Acceleration of the Realization of Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens” and “Creation of Infrastructure Suited to the 21st Century.” However, there are very strong doubts regarding the effectiveness of economic measures that focus on acceleration of the so-called Abenomics, the economic program of the Abe administration, since indications of the limits of this program have been appearing. In particular, economic measures centered on large-scale infrastructure investment while there is a sense of increasing tightness in the labor market cannot perform the function of a powerful underpinning to consumption and harbor many problems from the viewpoint of sound and sustainable economic development. We strongly demand a transition to policies that lead not only to investment in people but also a raising of the level of and support for the base of daily life, and the rectification of disparities.
  2. As one of the elements for improving the environment in child-rearing and nursing care, “Acceleration of the Realization of Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens” indicates that the working conditions for childcare workers will be improved. However, it is a problem that the policy is phrased in a way that suggests gender discrimination by viewing childcare workers as a women’s occupation. The government should take responsibility to secure stable financial resources in order to resolve as rapidly as possible the wage disparity of 100,000 yen per month below the all-industry average. Resolution of a similar wage disparity among nursing care workers is also an urgent task, and assured improvements in working conditions must be implemented. When this is carried out, the arrangements for handling the increased burden of insurance contributions should ensure that they are borne by all insured people.
    With regard to employment insurance, a “reduction, etc. of the insurance contributions and the state contribution for a certain period” has been indicated, but what is needed is an improvement in benefits. This further reduction in the state contribution, which has already been lowered as a temporary measure, is out of the question and tantamount to an abandoning of responsibility for employment policy by the government. The intention to appropriate the money made available by reducing the state contribution to boost child-rearing and nursing care is also a problem, since the government is unilaterally determining a policy for the employment insurance contributions that are paid by workers and employers.
    Regarding “the realization of the extension of the childcare leave period,” this is not simply a question of extending the period for which childcare leave can be taken. It is also crucial that the government formulate drastic policies for children waiting for nursery schools, the promotion of the taking of childcare leave by men, and advances in the improvement and enhancement of a system to support work-life balance that stands firmly for sweeping away the gender-based division of roles.
  3. It is necessary that the strengthening of business management capabilities and support for improving productivity for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises (MEs) is based on the concept that “people” are the wellspring of the creation of value added. On this basis, targeting good quality SMEs and MEs that show a willingness to generate employment, a review and expansion of investment in human resources should be conducted, together with a streamlining of application procedures for the current systems, including those for career development subsidies. With reference to subcontracting transactions, aiming for the realization of fair transaction practices, there is a necessity to raise the effectiveness of improvements in transaction conditions by putting in place measures to strengthen the policing of legal violations across all transactional relations in general and to enhance consultation functions.
  4. RENGO is now finalizing its “FY2017 RENGO Priority Policies” that aim for a realization of “a secure society based on work” and is pushing forward with activities for lobbying the government and political parties. While continuing to demand that the government make policy changes from the viewpoint of working people and people living ordinary daily lives in society, we will also demand detailed examination and revisions to the supplementary budget bill and others through sincere discussions between the ruling and opposition parties in the extraordinary session of the Diet.