Spring Struggle Policy/Action Plan21 for Greater Unionization Endorsed
41st Central Committee Held
(2 Dec 2003)
Photo: Three cheers led by President Sasamori.
(November 21, Tokyo)
On November 21, RENGO held the 41st Central Committee Meeting at a hotel in Tokyo, where 250 attendees including officials, Central Committee members and Central Committee special members endorsed the “2004 Spring Struggle Policy.” Based on that Policy, RENGO will establish its Spring Struggle Headquarters and from fall or the end of the year, all unions will thoroughly conduct labor-management consultations on the actual business conditions in their companies and on employment issues. Other matters were also endorsed at the Committee including “Organizing Unions: Action Plan21, Phase 2” and the “Creation of an Exploratory Committee on Organizations/Establishing Finance: Stage 2.” President Sasamori closed the Meeting with three cheers acclaiming that we must “bring back a Japan where people can live happily and securely.”

Showing his understanding of the current situation, RENGO President Sasamori said, “the deterioration of jobs and living standards has not been stopped.” Sasamori stated that during the 2004 Spring Struggle where union members will fight under severe circumstances, we will succeed in “raising the lowest” wages by supporting and enhancing joint struggles with small to mid-sized local unions and that RENGO will put all its might into reducing differentials. He also emphasized that RENGO will step up its activities to beef-up negotiation power of enterprise-based unions while advancing activities for its four highest-priority issues.

Regarding pension system reform in RENGO’s policy issues, Sasamori was critical saying, “What the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is proposing would be ‘a change for the worse.’” Speaking about the age 65 retirement system, “we must create a structure in which everyone can work until their eligible pension age,” and moved on to such issues as peace, the Constitution, human rights, public servant system reform, and revision of the Fundamental Law of Education.

Appealing for fortification and expansion of organizations Sasamori asked, “How can we reach out to the unorganized and incorporate them into our labor movement circle? We want you to demonstrate leadership as officials,” and called for the development of movement that will make a “RENGO that is a reliable anchor for workers.”

Sasamori had the following to say about the 43rd House of Representatives election:
[1] The low voter turnout is probably due to the people’s great distrust of and disappointment in politics.
[2] The merger between the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Party had a tremendous effect, yet the DPJ proved unable to sufficiently maximize this chance. Although we might recognize that they laid foundation for a bi-partisan political system, the DPJ was not fully successful because it was too vague regarding its “axis of conflict” and “vision for the nation.”
[3] The strategy, which showed political promise, was a success. But regarding the contents of the policies, Sasamori said it remains doubtful what the nation is looking for was accurately communicated. RENGO will propose its summary to the Central Executive Committee Meeting scheduled to be held in December.
During the proceedings, discussions were held on “Organizing Unions: Action Plan21, Phase 2” followed by “2004 Spring Struggle Policy.”

Further, there were opinions seeking to increase support for small to mid-sized unions such as “there are small to mid-sized/local unions which have not yet settled (negotiations). UI-ZENSEN (Japanese Federation of Textile, Chemical, Food, Commercial, Service and General Workers’ Unions) said that this is an important issue for RENGO as a whole” and ZENKOKU-IPPAN (National Union of General Workers) said “All of RENGO should push and work on to maintaining the 5,200 yen mark.”

During the question and answer summary, General Secretary Kusano said, “the biggest issues for the upcoming Spring Struggle are how we will cope with wage raises for small to mid-sized and local businesses, and how to maintain wage levels. RENGO, affiliated organizations, and local RENGO, will all work in full coordination for the Struggle.” The Spring Struggle Policy was endorsed unanimously.

Other items endorsed included “revision of RENGO rules,” “election board member selection,” and the “Creation of an Exploratory Committee on Organizations/Establishing Finance: Stage 2.”

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