JTUC-RENGO held the 18th Biennial Convention on 5-6 October 2023

06 October 2023
JTUC-RENGO 18th Biennial Convention

Let’s walk together and change together, taking society on to a new stage- Expand the circle of colleagues, aiming for a secure society -

On 5-6 October 2023, JTUC-RENGO held the 18th Biennial Convention in Tokyo under the slogan “Let’s walk together and change together, taking society on to a new stage - Expand the circle of colleagues, aiming for a secure society - “. In addition to the adoption of the Action Policies for the next two years, new executive officers were elected.

In her opening remarks, President Tomoko Yoshino recalled that “the economic and social situation has been difficult for ordinary citizens over the past two years” and said, “We challenged the spring labour offensive (“Shunto”; labour-management negotiations on wages and working conditions taking place in the spring season in Japan) with a strong appeal for ‘wage increases’ to overcome the ‘triple burden’ of the ‘Coronavirus pandemic’, ‘high prices’ and ‘weak yen’. Based on a common understanding among the tripartite parties, a dialogue forum was set up for the “Exchange of views between government, workers and employers”, and the need to pass on the cost of raw materials and labour within supply chains was recognized to enable wage increases to be realized not only by large enterprises but also by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As a result, wage increases were achieved at the highest level in 30 years. Furthermore, recognizing that this also led to the largest-ever increase in the maximum wage, she expressed appreciation for the efforts of the affiliated unions and federations that negotiated persistently on the ground and strongly called for the momentum of the wage increase to be carried forward into the 2024 Spring Labour Offensive.

President Yoshino also mentioned (i) the promotion of gender equality and diversity and (ii) “social dialogue” as issues she would like to focus on as RENGO enters its 18th term. She also emphasized the importance of these as being the platform for all RENGO initiatives, including organizational expansion, making the organization more attractive, information dissemination, realization of policies, and political activities.

She concluded her remarks by saying that, looking ahead to the 18th term, she will endeavor to unite the power of everyone who participates in and supports RENGO and expand such a circle.

As guests of honour, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Keizo Takemi, President of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan(CDP) Kenta Izumi, and Leader of the Democratic Party for the People (DPP) Yuichiro Tamaki, were present and addressed the Convention.

We also received greetings from overseas organizations, including Akiko Gono, President of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Shoya Yoshida, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation - Asia-Pacific (ITUC-AP), Veronica Nilsson, General Secretary of the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Shinichi Takasaki, Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Office for Japan. We also received video messages from Luc Triangle, Acting General Secretary of the ITUC and Gilbert F. Houngbo, Director-General of the ILO.

“Action Policies for 2024-2025” was discussed and adopted with the aim of ensuring a shift in the socio-economic stage over the next two years towards the realization of RENGO’s vision of “A Secure Society based on Work - Protecting, Connecting, and Creating”. The policies include: ‘pursuing collective labour-management relations to protect and connect all working people and promoting a movement that spreads throughout society’; ‘promoting a movement to protect and create a secure society and decent work’; and ‘realizing a workplace and society in which ‘true diversity’, including gender equality, and respect for every individual, takes root’.

Following the adoption of the policy, the Convention elected 61 executive officers, including President Tomoko Yoshino (JAM), Deputy President Akihiko Matsuura (UA Zensen), Deputy President Chihiro Ishigami (Jichiro), General Secretary Hideyuki Shimizu (Nikkyoso), 15 Vice Presidents, 6 Assistant General Secretaries, 32 Central Executive Committee members and 4 Accounting Auditors.

In her inaugural remarks shortly after her election, President Yoshino said, “Two years ago, I became President with the determination to break through the ‘glass ceiling’. Until now, I have received much attention as the first female President and have worked on promoting gender equality and diversity. In doing so, I have promised many women that I will never turn down an opportunity when it comes. Many men are participating here today. From now on, I urge you to have the courage to speak to women and give them a chance. I also hope you will also provide them with the opportunity to fail. I understand it is difficult to change what we have built up. However, for our society and us to not be left behind in the future, we need to move forward swiftly. RENGO movement will only develop if we have the trust of all workers and people living in the country. We must to go and work beside all workers and others, including those forced to live in difficulty due to the Coronavirus pandemic. “We go forward together with all about ‘work’.” We will do our utmost to be a helpful and reliable presence for all.” She expressed her determination.

The Convention closed with the unanimous adoption of the Convention Declaration, which states that we hereby declare that, as an organization that is “Always at your side” for all working colleagues, we will unite together the thoughts of the whole organization and energetically push forward the movement while making a broad appeal for the social value of trade unions.

≫ Convention Declaration

Tomoko YOSHINO, President of JTUC-RENGO
Fumio KISHIDA, Prime Minister
Keizo TAKEMI, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare
Kenta IZUMI, President of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan
Yuichiro TAMAKI, Leader of the Democratic Party for the People
Hideyuki SHIMIZU, General Secretary of JTUC-RENGO
On behalf of the newly elected executives