RENGO General Secretary Kusano Addresses the 92nd ILC

12 June 2004
On June 11, RENGO General Secretary Kusano addressed the plenary of the 92nd Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC), held in Geneva, Switzerland, since June 1st. He stressed on ILO's leading role in overcoming the negative consequences of globalization, pointing out that rapid increase in a-typical workers has brought grave damaging effect on working people as a whole. He also reported on the progress of consultations between the Government and trade unions on the ongoing public service system reform. The text of his speech follows:

Photo: General Secretary Kusano addresses the 92nd ILC Photo: General Secretary Kusano addresses the 92nd ILC
Thank you for giving me the floor.

This year is a memorable year for the ILO, its 85th anniversary, the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Philadelphia, and the 35th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize. With various and serious problems in the world of work incurred by the increasing globalization, it is exactly now when the ILO is examined on its raison d'etre and role over again.

We regard some issues brought up by the Organization recently are upon which the ILO would fulfill its present-day tasks; such issues include migration, one of this year's Conference agenda items, poverty eradication which was emphasized in last year's Director-General's Report, and realization of Decent Work which has been a central theme of ILO activities for some years.

We should reaffirm that the proper function of the ILO's tripartite structure was and is the base upon which the Organization has build its very existence and acquired its reputation and trust from the international community.

The Report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization clearly identified the serious widening disparities and social insecurity between and within countries brought about by the too much hasty globalization.

In Japan as well, employment, wages and working conditions have been gravely affected by the extreme de-regulation policy of the Government and management restructure pursued by some employers disguising "reinforcement of international competitiveness." One typical example is the explosive increase of a-typical workers including part-time, fixed-term and dispatched workers. These workers, who occupy around 30% of the total workforce, are facing serious problems such as employment insecurity and unreasonable discrimination in wages, working conditions and social security. Their situation is also giving damaging effect on employment and working conditions of regular workers, and severe negative impact on the whole life of working people.

Our attention should be on the gravity on women. Gender equality is, therefore, the fundamental viewpoint that should be rooted commonly to all the issues.

Overcoming the negative consequence of globalization is a task of urgency for the ILO. It is imperative, therefore, to implement the recommendations of the World Commission concretely and steadily. It is a pity however, despite favorable appreciation in general, very few indications have been expressed to secure fund necessary for implementation. Neither, the importance of the social dialogue based on the labor relations has not yet obtained enough recognition.

ILO is required to reinforce its management based on the tripartite structure in order to fulfill its leading role in collaboration with other international organizations. And, we are fully convinced that the principle of freedom of association should be properly established and function as the base of tripartism; "without freedom of association, the concept of tripartism would be meaningless."

Having said that, I would like to briefly refer to the issues of fundamental trade union rights for public service employees in Japan. The Committee on Freedom of Association issued twice reports stating that the current situation on this issue is not in accordance with the principles incorporated in Conventions Nos 87 and 98, and that a drastic reform is necessary including legislative revision. I would like to express our sincere gratitude and respect representing RENGO. In response to these recommendations, a table for consultation is now placed, with three (3) ministers concerned and also three (3) representative of trade unions, including myself. I would like to conclude my intervention by requesting you to watch over attentively our efforts to establish a new democratic public service system compatible with the ILO Conventions.

Thank you for your attention.