July 18, 2004 International Labor Panel in San
Report from Doro-Chiba,
National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba, Japan
1. First of all
2. Our spring labor offensive strikes in 2004 and a new upsurge of the
Japanese labor movement
(1) Doro-Chiba's fundamental standpoint
(2) The first strike of our spring labor offensive, 2004
(3) The second and third strikes of our spring labor offensive, 2004
(4) Epoch-making united action of anti-war struggle of March 20
(5) Education workers' struggle
(6)Struggle for withdrawal of 1047 workers' dismissal
3. State of Affairs in Japan
(1) Legislation of the Emergency Laws
(2) Intensification of Oppression against Labor Movement
(3) Oppression of Freedom of Speech and Instigation of Chauvinism
(4) Decisive Battle against Constitutional Revision
(5) Current situation of Japanese workers and labor movements
(6) "Okuda-vision" of Nippon-Keidanren
4. We tackle these problems
1. First of all
Sisters and Brothers, we thank you all for your invitation to attend
and speak before this excellent meeting.
I am President of Doro-Chiba TAMAKA Yasuhiro. Doro-Chiba, National Railway
Motive Power Union of Chiba, is a union of drivers operating in Tokyo
area and Chiba Prefecture and engineers.
Last November in Tokyo, we held a 3000-strong international workers
solidarity rally of Japanese, Korean and US workers against fierce attack
on workers' rights and the war. We deeply appreciate Mr. Steve Zeltzer
Mr. Russell Miyashiro and all sisters and brothers who sent them. This
rally made a great impact on the Japanese labor movement. The seeds
sown by the international solidarity rally are bourgeoning and growing
defying capital's and state power's intense attack on the labor movement
and servility of union bureaucracy. We feel now more and more confident
in great power of international solidarity between comrades who continue
strenuous fight against war, oppression and privatization and against
their governments and capitals.
I am very pleased to report that, last December, we got the Kokuro
8 out of 15-month unjust detention. The Kokuro 8 gave out handbills
to the delegates of their own union convention, protesting impending
disciplinary measures on dismissed workers who demanded withdrawal of
their dismissal. The state power and the Kokuro union bureaucracy fabricated
"violent act" and arrested the Kokuro 8 four months after
the convention. The railway worker of the Kokuro 8 have immediately
returned to their workplaces and continue their struggle for withdrawal
of 1047 workers' dismissal and for rebirth of the Kokuro, National Railways
Workers' Union. San Francisco Labor Council gave great assistance to
us passing a resolution supporting the Kokuro 8. Sisters and brothers,
we wish to thank you very much again.
We have a message from the comrades of the Local Seoul of Korean Confederation
of Trade Unions, who were very eager to attend this meeting. Regrettably
they cannot come hear because of their all-out struggle of June and
July. However, their message reads: "Our international solidarity
with US and Japanese workers remain firm and solid." With the US
and Japanese workers, also the workers of Korean Confederation of Trade
Unions fight against the war on Iraq. Under the violent oppression,
they launch great strikes to bring the troops home, to abolish discrimination
against irregular workers, to increase in the minimum wage, to stop
negotiation of Korea-Japan Free Trade Agreement.
2. Our spring labor offensive strikes in 2004
and a new upsurge of the Japanese labor movement
(1) Doro-Chiba's fundamental standpoint
Well then, I report our recent struggles.
In the first half of the year 2004, Doro-Chiba fought several struggles
including strikes during the spring labor offensive, appealing following
issues to workers throughout Japan.
First, the spring labor offensive 2004 became a decisive battle. Because
the government and the business had been launching violent attacks against
workers. To lower wages, to force the majority of them into irregular
jobs, to disimprove the pension system and to deny the right to organize
through changing the Labor Union Law for the worse.
Second, Japanese workers had now to fight "the war at home"
and "the war abroad." Because the government sent the Self
Defense Forces to Iraq and the Emergency Laws were to be laid on the
table, flagrantly violating the Constitution, which reads "Japanese
people forever renounce war" "land, sea, and air forces, as
well as other war potential, will never be maintained."
Third, we had to link strikes on workplaces and the international anti-war
rally on March 20, an anniversary of the start of the new war on Iraq.
Because it was our greatest opportunity to materialize workers' broad
united action and to fight back Koizumi Administration, changing power
relationship between classes.
Fourth, we had to strike against ruining safety on Japan Railways caused
by privatization, sweeping contracting out and deregulation and against
rampant union busting and against repression on struggle for withdrawal
of the 1047 workers' dismissal.
(2) The first strike of our spring labor offensive,
On February 10, the struggle started upon unfair transfer of our member
just before reaching retirement. We immediately issued a directive to
that member to wage a strike and a directive to all members to launch
a non-cooperation struggle. We continued this first wave of struggle
for 16 days until February 25 and won a historic victory for us.
The struggle was not only against unfair transfer of a union member
but also against a flood of disastrous consequences. Japan Railways
Companies are now contracting out nearly all of the rail transportation
business: maintenance of rails and electric facilities, inspection and
repair of cars, stations, conductors and so on. Rail safety is thus
ruined. We have continually struck and resisted on shop floor against
contracting out. In our workplaces, Chiba area, we have fully stopped
contracting out of inspection and repair of cars. We thus force the
JR Companies personnel shortage; even a massive vacancy would be possible.
On the other hand, after 17 years from the privatization of the National
Railways tens of our members unfairly deprived of driving or inspection
and repair jobs and transferred to dispersed workplaces. They are until
now fighting persistently under hostile policy of the management toward
Doro-Chiba in isolated places.
With the first strike, we gained not only substantial withdrawal of
the forced transfer of one member but also reinstatement of many members
transferred long ago. This modest victory is only a beginning, but a
beginning of a struggle that will shake the very system of privatized
railways. We can. We can win, because we struck against the privatization
of the National Railways in spite of fierce repression: 40 members were
unfairly fired and nearly 100 were transferred and because we continue
our struggle, supporting our dismissed and transferred members. So our
victory in February shall bring about decisive meaning.
(3) The second and third strikes of our spring
labor offensive, 2004
The second struggle was a strike of all our members from March 12
to 14, just on the day of the timetable revision. The main issue was
rail safety, ruined as a result of privatization. Recently, accident
and disruption of rail traffic are more and more frequent: fractures
of rail, accidents in track maintenance work irresponsibly contracted
out and so on. We struck for full compliance of safety measures and
the management apologized their cover-up of rail fracture accidents.
We launched the third strike on March 29. The main issue was the management
attempt to revise the wage system for worse. Our membership comprises
of workers in JR East, a passenger train company, and in JR Freight.
The freight company wishes to introduce a new wage system based on so-called
"merit system". The intention is clear: reduction of personnel
cost and destruction of workers' unity. We stopped the introduction
of this system on April 1, however, the struggle continues.
(4) Epoch-making united action of anti-war struggle
of March 20
Along with the strikes on the shop floor, we did all we could to materialize
an anti-war broad united action, crossing borders of national labor
federations, on the anniversary of the launching of the war on Iraq.
The union bureaucracies of two national labor federations, Rengo and
Zenroren, have degenerated and become more and more servile to the government
and business. Many of Japanese labor unions support reduction of wages
and dismissal of workers, and war legislation. They are suppressing
workers hand in hand with the government and capital. On the shop floors,
however, workers' anger is erupting; rank and file workers are beginning
great revolt. Our most important task is to bring together all the voices
of such workers and come on the scene as a new current of labor movement.
Development of cooperation of labor unions against war developed into
20 Labor Unions & Organizations of Land, Sea, Air & Ports. This
joint struggle organization was formed crossing different national federations,
comprises the labor unions of air, maritime and rail traffics, longshore,
medical care and so on, which would be compulsorily mobilized to war.
They cooperate in one issue: opposition against war and Emergency Legislation.
Together with 20 Labor Unions & Organizations of Land, Sea, Air
& Ports we called for organizing the anti-war rally of March 20
as a broad united action with great turn-out, in order to make a turning
point in Japanese labor movement. We repeatedly discussed and realized
maturity of conditions for it. Thus we appealed a nationwide struggle.
This movement grew tremendously and even Rengo and Zenroren could not
eventually ignore it. The turnout was 60,000 in Hibiya Park, Tokyo and
one million throughout Japan. This joint action of the unions affiliated
to Rengo and those of Zenroren was the first since 1989, the year of
the destruction of the then national labor federation, Sohyo, and establishment
of right wing united federation, Rengo.
(5) Education workers' struggle
Another two struggles were born in this upsurge of working class.
The one is the education workers' struggle. Every year in March, Japanese
schools hold graduation ceremonies. This year the "national flag",
Hinomaru or Rising Sun and "national anthem", Kimigayo or
His Majesty's Reign became much more important issue of resistance than
the previous years. The Rising Sun is a symbol of aggressive wars of
imperialist Japan on Korea, China and throughout East Asia. Kimigayo,
His Majesty's Reign is off course a hymn of Japan reined by Emperor.
Japanese workers have long been resisted the flag and the song.
The government aimed to obligate people to pay homage to the state
by legislating the National Flag and Anthem Law. Particularly in Tokyo
where Fascist Ishihara is the governor issued a directive to impose
draconian disciplinary measures on teachers who did not stand erect
before flag or did not sing His Majesty's Reign.
The teachers unions of Tokyo caved in and issued instructions to obey
business order. The rank and file of education workers, however, resisted
courageously. More than 300 in Tokyo and 1000 throughout Japan sat down.
480 education workers filed lawsuit against disciplinary measures or
unjust directive itself. This group of plaintiffs has laid a new foundation
of labor movement's rebirth.
(6) Struggle for withdrawal of 1047 workers' dismissal
Another is the development of joint struggle between workers of Doro-Chiba,
Kokuro (National Railways Workers' Union) and Zendoro (All National
Railway Locomotive Engineers' Union) for withdrawal of 1047 workers'
dismissal. This 17 year struggle has been experiencing very severe circumstances:
the National Executive of Kokuro, National Railway Workers Union have
caved in and rapidly degenerated in face of prolongation and difficulty
of the struggle.
First, the Kokuro Executive accepted a "proposal of solution"
by the Liberal Democratic Party and so on. The proposal was a de facto
demand of unconditional surrender: "Kokuro shall approve that the
newly privatized Japan Railway Corporations do not owe legal responsibilities.
The Kokuro shall decide to admit the above declaration in the National
Congress of the trade union." "cancellation of litigation"
and then "The ruling parties will present a demand to the privatized
JR corporations across the nation to the effect that the corporations
will start negotiation talks with the Kokuro's area headquarters and
seek for solutions."
Quite naturally, many members of Kokuro vehemently spoke out against
the National Executive's decision and the extraordinary convention was
called out. Kokuro's disruption became very deep. And finally the Kokuro
Executive held another convention, keeping out opposition workers with
help of riot police. They imposed disciplinary measures on opposition
workers and sold out their own union members who appealed to continue
the struggle to the police.
In these circumstances, Doro-Chiba has been appealing to workers throughout
Japan as follows:
1. The struggle for withdrawal of 1047 workers' dismissal is now on
its critical stage, not only critical for their jobs but also for rebirth
or destruction of Kokuro and labor movement in Japan Railways. We must
reconstruct our struggle returning to the principle of labor movement.
2. Therefore, the 1047 dismissed workers belonging to three unions must
unite crossing their differences and appeal the struggle to workers
3. In addition, the struggle against the unjust arrest and long detention
of workers who fight the 1047 workers' struggle must be furthered into
a nation-wide great struggle.
On April 13, the dismissed workers of Doro-Chiba, Kokuro and Zendoro
stood together on the platform of Hibiya Hall. Labor unions of Tokyo
metropolitan area gathered together. The rally made a new start line
of the 1047 dismissed workers' struggle.
3. State of Affairs in Japan
(1) Legislation of the Emergency Laws
Next, I talk briefly about the background of Japanese labor movement
Today, Japanese workers face an ordeal: extreme reactionary policies
reversing the ruling system of Japan after World War II.
In June last year, the three Emergency Laws were enacted; in December,
the Law for the Troops Dispatch to Iraq. Last June, seven Emergency
Laws and the revision of U.S.-Japan Acquisition and Cross-Servicing
Agreement and so on were enacted. These legislations provide for centralization
of authority to Prime Minister in an emergency; commandeering or control
of land, houses, traffic and communication facilities; forcibly engage
workers in designated activities, reciprocal provision of logistic support,
supplies and services between Self-Defense Forces and the US Forces;
treatment of prisoners of war and so on. Japan has now almost every
statutory law needed to launch a war.
(2) Intensification of Oppression against Labor
For five years or so, oppressive laws have been enacted one after
another. Three laws of Countermeasures against Organized Crime, including
Wiretapping Law; National Flag and Anthem Law; Organization Control
Law; several laws to centralize information management, to prohibit
donation to certain organizations, and for preventive detention; revision
for worse of Immigration Control Law and Police Law; attempted introduction
of "crime of conspiracy"; drastic revision of the justice
system and so on.
Most alarmingly of all, the opposition parties bent down and most of
these oppressive laws have been passed by overwhelming majority of the
Parliament. Conformism of the media has grown very rapidly; the public
are not informed of very contents of these laws. Even the biggest national
labor federation, Rengo, published their opinion supporting the Emergency
Laws. Many groups and forces are now becoming collaborators of war again.
Oppression against resistance is intensified. Union members who handed
over flyers to their own convention delegates were arrested on a charge
of "violent act" (the case of Kokuro 8); peace activists who
distributed flyer in official residences of Self Defense Forces were
arrested on a charge of "trespassing"; an activist was arrested
in front of the Parliament with the pretext that the magnitude of sound
from the portable microphone was "violent"; fully peaceful
anti-war demonstrators were arrested; and so on. Unprecedented trivial
causes were repeatedly used to arrest, indict and detain people extremely
(3) Oppression of Freedom of Speech and Instigation
Recently three Japanese were captured and thereafter other two were
captured and released. All of them were activists of peace movement.
The cause of the capture was clear: Japanese government had sent the
Self Defense Forces to Iraq and the US Forces had committed massacre
in Fallujah. In Japan, however, after the families demanded withdrawal
of the Self Defense Forces, the Japanese government organized defamation
campaign against the captured and their families. They were subjected
to a kangaroo court of the media: "Their behavior lacking self-responsibility
causes a good deal of trouble. They owe profound apology" "They
must consider the national interest." There is now a same structure
as the oppression under the imperial Japan before the end of World War
II. People who do not conform to the government's policy are to be ostracized
Today in Japan, a flood of chauvinism and hostility against North Korea
are brought forth every day. The ruling class aims to change the spirit
of the age into hate and fear.
The ruling class is intent on transformation of government form into
an iron fist one, passing emergency bills and oppression bills, repressing
militant labor unions and anti-war activists and organizing chauvinist
(4) Decisive Battle against Constitutional Revision
Our struggle against such political reactions reaches a crucial point
just in the time span of this summer to next year. For the dominant
class is about to put the constitutional revision on the political agenda.
In Japan we haven't experienced a revision of our constitution after
World War II. It is the main purpose of the imperialist bourgeoisie
to revise Article 9, which provide for both permanent abandonment of
use of force and non-maintaining of army, navy, air force and other
war potential. In connection with this move, Fundamental Law on Education,
that corresponds our peace constitution, is also targeted to revise
in the extraordinary session of the Diet in this autumn. If this occurred,
the main philosophy of education would be transformed from pursuing
of peace into developing of patriotism.
On the basis of results of our struggles in this spring, we are determined
to prepare a big-scale fight against the constitutional revision toward
(5) Current situation of Japanese workers and
Being closely related to these political attacks, a full-scale aggression
against workers and labor movement is on the move.
The unemployment rate in Japan is some 5% according to government statistics.
But this rate is based on the Japanese-unique standard and in reality
far more than 10% on the global standard. No less than 10% of all households
earn only $ 13,000 income annually and the rate of irregular workers
is increasing rapidly; 32% in 2003. Wages are falling 4 years consecutively
and 40% of people aren't able to pay national pension premiums (national
pension is the basement of Japanese public pension system and all the
Japanese people over 20 are bound to affiliate themselves to this).
About 30,000 people commit suicide every year, 10,000 of them for economic
reasons. On the other hand, major corporations have, as a result of
wage cut and dismissal, got unprecedented big profits at the closing
account of this March.
The Parliament of last and this year made a large number of law-revisions
one after another: dismissal has been admitted as right of employers;
irregular employment such as employment for short period and employment
on temporary status has been completely permitted; public pension system
has undergone a sweeping reform; period and amount of unemployment benefit
are drastically decreased etc. In short, the Japanese workers are faced
with the situation, where their right to live is on the point of being
Rengo (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) has accepted such attacks
almost all, saying in the same way as the government and the business
circle, that is, "There is no other way to maintain international
competitiveness". Also Zenroren (National Confederation of Trade
Unions) has thoroughly given up to organize strikes and other forms
of fights, advocating "a democratic reform within the framework
of capitalism". In the face of such debacle of existing labor movements,
fierce anger of rank and file workers is on the verge of bursting up.
(6) "Okuda-vision" of Nippon-Keidanren
Publishing two reports of December last year and January this year,
Nippon-Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) has issued a blueprint
for fundamental change of domination over workers. These reports, so-called
"Okuda-vision"(Okuda is the president of this organization)
say for example, "Japan is on the edge of collapse", "For
the sake of flourishing forest we must cut off branches and plow out
weeds", "Some people have a false idea as if there existed
now a stabile small happiness and it would continue to exist eternally"
and "They seem to be nothing but aliens." Okuda-vision urges
labor unions to degenerate through and through.
Nippon-Keidanren insists in the "Okuda-vision" on following
points: throwing 90% of workers into irregular and instable employment
through dismantling life employment; decreasing wage up to "the
same standard as in the developing countries"; dismantling of social
security system such as pension system and health care, introducing
principle of market mechanism and ideology of "self-responsibility";
further promoting of privatization and deregulation so that jungle law
may prevail; striving to form "East Asia Free Economic Sphere"
in order to survive the global competition; building up of military
power and revision of constitution etc. In a word, Okuda-vision is full
of imperialist ambitions.
4. We tackle these problems
Globalization of capital and its pursuit of profit have lead to starvation
all over the world, to unemployment of billions of people, and to wars.
The same things are coming about in Japan too.
Robbers like Koizumi and Okuda have spent huge amount of money from
national treasury like water on rescuing finance capital and monopoly
firms, while imposing a lot of sacrifices on workers. Now they have
the accumulated deficit of $ 1,000 billion. The crisis of bankruptcy
is looming. The only way out for them consists in the exclusive dominance
of Chinese and Asian markets. That's why they have established emergency
laws. That's why they are making efforts to pave the way for constitutional
revision, preparing for an aggressive war on North Korea.
We are profoundly convinced that the unified power of Japanese, American,
and Korean workers is sure to stop this war.
Our struggle still confronts lots of difficulties. But we are completely
free from despair. Many workers are getting more and more angry at the
traditional leadership of existing labor movements; they are also increasingly
getting aware: "Without restoring unity of workers this reality
isn't to change". So the new battle line, the new current of labor
movement is just about coming into being.
The aggressive war on Iraq has created flood of struggles by workers
and people all over the world, and American and Japanese ruling classes
are dragged in quagmire. The fierce attacks against workers are, by
this token, surely creating the unity and struggle of workers. We are
confident that only the united struggle of workers can not only stop
new wars but also smash the imperialist attack to deprive us of the
right to live.
We know you are planning the Million Worker March on October 17, aiming
at the independent mobilization of working people across America. We,
Doro-Chiba, will support and endorse this great struggle full-heartedly.
We are in keen sympathy with you. If the workers all over the world
are successful in uniting new powers of labor movements, there is no
doubt that they can create the new dimension of the history.
We, Doro-Chiba, are a small union. But in firm solidarity with locals
10 and 34 of ILWU, with all the workers of San Francisco and America;
we pledge here that together with you we will continue to do our best
to change the current situation of the Japanese labor movement and to
shape our future with our own hands.
Thank you very much
The History of Doro-Chiba's Struggle
-National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba (Doro-Chiba)-
<Struggle before Doro-Chiba built>
February 1978 (Previous history)
Struggle to stop scabbing deputy engine drivers to check the rail
The former body of Doro|Chiba is one of local organizations
(Local Chiba) of National Railway Motive Power Union (NRMU) : founded
under the name of Locomotive Workers Union in 1950, name changed in
That consists of train drivers and car engineers of both Chiba prefecture
and shinkoiwa area of Tokyo. Our 600 members work in whole Chiba, a
part of Tokyo including Tokyo station. Retired members constitute OB
club. After Division and Privatization (D&P) of Japan National railways,
company had kept down the recruiting of fresh persons. Even though they
have restarted acceptance of new comers, they stopped them from joining
us. Nevertheless we have got 30 and more new members after Privatization
Not that militant Union at first we were, the series of so many struggles
and train accidents such as anti Japan U.S. security treaty struggle
in 1960, angers against railway accidents taking 320 lives in Mikawashima
and Tsurumi areas in 1962 and 1963, anti rationalization battle against
diminution of 50000 assistant train drivers, anti Vietnam war struggle,
anti Japan U.S. security treaty revision fight and Okinawa struggle
around 1970 and anti Productivity Raising Movement struggle which decreased
workers as many as 60000 people during 2 years more, made us strong
union. We got a lot of progress from that struggles building a firm
basis for today.
Among them we want to underscore 2 important struggles.
First is to keep the safety of train operation with fighting the very
dangerous situation caused by streamlining and employee reduction. A
member was arrested in Funabashi station accident in 1972. We countercharged
that by several strikes and slowdown (in order to trouble train diagram)
claiming, "the accident is caused by ignorance of train safety
with profit-oriented policy". Finally we stopped firing of the
worker and protected him. Then "No struggle, No safety" has
been our most important slogan.
Second is solidarity with Sanrizuka struggle (farmers battle against
Narita Airport construction) which is Japan's biggest farmers fight
and anti State Power struggle after WWU. We fought 100 days struggle
rejecting Jet fuel transportation to Narita Airport going to be opened
in 1977`78 among fierce oppressional attack to farmers, with a
aim to maintain Labor and Peasant solidarity .
<New Doro-Chiba was born>
30 March 1979
Launch Rally of Doro-Chiba
Thus Local Chiba has become the most militant democratic local body
among National Railway Motive Union reinforcing inner unity. On the
other hand National Headquarters of NRMU has changed its fundamental
posture later of 1970s.
In 1978 convention they proposed @Abandoning strike tactic ACanceling
the solidarity with Sanrizuka struggle. Local Chiba opposed anti-labor,
National Headquarters even had beaten our representative at the lobby
of convention site to oppress the addressing of our representative.
After that the Headquarters suspended the right of execution and membership
of all our executive members, expelling 4 members including chairperson.
These made us to decide to leave NRMU and get to be independent as Doro-Chiba
March 30 in 1979.
About 2 years since we tried to protect our unity from destroying
attack by NRMU headquarters under allowance of Japan National Railway
(NR) authority bringing so many members injured.
NR authority discharged our secretary general in Dec. 1979, the chief
of organization bureau in May 1980. Furthermore in 1981, 4 executive
members including vice chairperson were fired for strikes against Jet
fuel transportation to Narita Airport and cut back of 60000 workers
from March 2 to 6 in 1981.
<Struggle against Division and Privatization
17 November 1985
Stop the privatization and division of JNR!
Strike declaration at Hibiya Outside Music Hall
The most severe struggle among our history was fight against aggression
with Division and Privatization of NR leaving 100 thousands workers
Nakasone cabinet announced to divide and privatize JNR to start harsh
aggression to destroy Unions in 1983. At that time 5 main Trade Unions
ware in NR.
Biggest one KOKURO (National Railways Workers Union NRWU) reduced its
member from 224 thousands to 44 thousands showing how intense that aggression
was. Besides that 130 thousands were dismissed either.
Nakasone confessed the aim of Division and Privatization (D&P) was
to crush the General Council of Trade Unions of Japan (SOHYO) national
center of trade unions then. This indicates D&P was the national
unfair labor practices to not only dismiss hundreds of thousands workers
but also to dismantle the Japan's labor movement.
Responses to the aggression were divided among Unions of JNR. Opposition:
Doro-Chiba, KOKURO, ZENDORO. Support: NRMU and TETSURO (Japan Railway
Workers Union). Among them NRMU became a worst agent of provocateur.
Those 2 unions promoting D&P pieced together to Japan Confederation
of Railway Workers (JRU).
KOKURO, which opposed D&P, first couldn't set a firm struggle because
of confused organization management. The executive leader, in 1986 convention,
proposed a compromising policy, met a hail of criticizing and was forced
to withdraw the policy 3 month later in provisional convention. However
those disputes triggered a lot of members to drop out and organization
went into splitting situation.
Nevertheless we fought first strike in Nov.1985 and second in Feb.
1986 arguing the struggle against D&P is a deadly battle which decides
the future of all proletariat and labor movement with organizing discussion
among members and family too.
These strikes made big wave around country. We think those strikes,
have been able to uncover the dirty character of D&P hidden by mass
media's intentional campaign posting it as socially disputed agenda
for the first time. Such basic stance we built up as a sacrifice taking
battle is absolutely needed to maintain members' solidarity from the
aggression that claimed our surrender.
In those strikes government encircled our work place with 10000 riot
police. With the authority discharging 20 members in first strike and
8 in second strike, that was accompanied by lawsuit requesting us as
much as 300000, an unprecedented attack. In addition 12
workers was rejected to get seat in privatized new company Japan Railways
(JR) in excuse of being suspended at those strikes. However we continued
to fight successfully having many members to get into JR@maintaining
solidification. The strikes were the only walkout to challenge the D&P.
< The Start of New Struggle in JR>
13 April 1989
Long-term strikes in waves.
Strike in Makuhari branch.
National Railways was divided to 7 privatized companies, 6 were district
ones and 1 was cargo specialized. We started new struggle in JR with
1) Withdrawal of the decision of discharged workers.
2) Battles against forcible workers transfer, scrapping work places
of our stronghold and attacks to organization.
3) Battle opposing rationalization (lean system) and maintaining safety
train operation that was put in crisis by the ultimate downsizing with
desperate work place conditions.
4) Revival of workers movement that fights the reactional politic moves
and militalization either, that were propelled during D&P aggression.
We began new battle against forcible conversion of work position that
transferred train drivers to commissary stores or first food stands
with making continual strikes. We walked off for 72 hours against scrapping
of Katsuura operation yard which was our strong point in 1995, set up
a permanent footing of strike to stop the Union destruction in advance
after 1996, battled against abolition of Sakura machinery yard in 1997
and waged strike against abolition Narashio inspection and maintenance
yard in December 2003. Struggle continues persistently like that.
In particular, we went into a strike for an indefinite period in February,
2004. This strike was started with the forced allocation attack of our
union member who was near to retirement age, and finally we won the
victory of getting back other union members to their working places.
They were being allocated in the union busting attack of the JR company
since the time of privatization.
We continue to fight as an anti rationalization struggle. Strikes began
to protest at a time when one year's day of train accident robbing driver's
life in Dec.1988 ;which was caused by illegal direction to ignore traffic
signal to forefend diagram disorder, to struggle against stretch out
of workload in 1991, against stretch out in every year's diagram revision,
against outsourcing of train checking and repairing work with 2002`2004
strikes, slowdown action etc.
"Safety collapse" reaches a critical level and the track breaking
accident occurs successively now in JR as a result of privatization,
out-tasking and deregulation. So we decided a union policy to strengthen
and rebuild our driving preservation struggle such as safety driving
struggle in the 51st periodical committee on May 20, 2004.
As an anti-dismissal-struggle we have got a big gain in 1997 letting
the authority to withdraw the discharge of 28 members who were fired
in excuse of first and second strikes resisting D&P in 1985 and
1986 with tenacious struggle such as strikes from Jan. to March in 1990,
mass protest actions, lawsuits to labor committee and legal court.
However JR East Company attacked us with blocking the Union office against
strike during March 18 to 21 in 1990. We counter attacked this by running
into strike earlier than designated time. They filed a lawsuit us claiming
180000 and more saying "It's illegal strike".
Now we have@carried over the protest calling for the withdrawal
of dismissal of 1047 workers (consists of Doro-Chiba, NRWU, ZENDORO).
And then we put our efforts in reviving workers movement at the same
time with encouraging struggles of anti war, militarization, destruction
of the system of employment, wage, social welfare and workers rihgts.
Workers' biggest national center SOHYO was dismantled in 1989 ending
to convert their stance to pro-government, capitalist side. We set up
an organization by gathering activists over the country for resurrection
of laborer movement and constituted Anti War Joint Action Committee
when the series of wars were attempted commencing with the Gulf War
in 1991. We formed the National Network of militant unions either calling
on freshly mixed concrete workers Union of Kansai branch, and National
metal machinery workers joint Union that have fought fundamental and
militant workers movement.
This challenge developed into Japan / US / Korea international solidarity
rally at 2004/11/09. We invited the representatives of ILWU local 34
and "Campaign Against Taft-Hartley, Repression and Privatization",
UTU worker from America and KCTU Seoul Regional Council from Korea.
This rally gave a big impact to the whole labor movement.
Peculiarly Iraq War of March 20, 2003 and urgent moves to ordain Emergency
Law shocked us. On the other hand, we were encouraged with international
hot wave of "Don't attack Iraq" movement.
We ran into 90-hour strike from March 27 to 30, 2003 appealing anti
Iraq War, stop the Emergency law, stop changing labor laws for the worse;
unstable employment and giving capitalists the right of free-dismissal.
Also in 2004 SHUNTO (annual spring offensive), we went on strike for
3 times and called for everyone with every effort to realize a big scale
international peace action of 1 year after the outbreak of Iraqi war
as a united action of workers beyond the border of National Center together
with "The land / the sea / the sky / the harbor 20 labor union
groups" and "Block the road to war! One Million Signature
Campaign". As a result, we could realize a big united action for
the first time since the time of dissolution of EX-SOHYO (General Council
of Trade Unions of Japan) and formation of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union
Confederation) in 1989.
Now we are facing serious situation. War-related bills were enacted
in 2003-2004 Diet and the enforcement of changing Constitution for the
worse in 2005 is planned in political schedule. We are determined to
strengthen our fight.
<New State of Struggle for Withdrawing Dismissal>
27 March 1997
All the 28 workers dismissed under Pubic Workers Act won their
The 24th Doro-Chiba extra conferece.
Our 17-year-struggle for backing down discharges confronts new troublesome
stage. Our partner KOKURO's executive has nearly convert its position
giving up to difficulties with prolonged struggle.
The outset of moves come from government and LDP (ruling party Liberal
Democratic Party). They instigate KOKURO executive to surrender promising
to request JR company to set a talk table for resolving the dispute
if KOKURO passes the decision admitting that JR is innocent on firing
workers and withdraws a lawsuit in KOKURO convention. Then executive
decided to accept this proposal ignoring fierce opposition in a convention.
Not only that, government and LDP even request KOKURO to expel the members
to continue to fight. And executive took up that too.
In addition they sold members over police who appealed to keep up struggle
and protest with giving tape-recorded videotape of a provisional convention
May 27, 2002 as a tool of police oppression. Seven KOKURO members and
one supporter (KOKURO 8) were arrested unfairly and they were kept in
jail for 13 months long. But the movement of "Free them from unprecedented
frame-up oppression by police" prevailed in Japan and finally they
were released on December 22, 2003.
DORO-CHIBA considers that the struggle for withdrawing 1047 dismissal
is not only an issue of DORO-CHIBA itself but also a crucial issue of
labor movement in KOKURO and JR. We DORO-CHIBA insist that it is most
important for the fired workers of 3 labor unions (DORO-CHIBA, KOKURO
and ZENDORO) to call for a big united struggle disregarding the difference
of their standing points to reform the present condition and to open
up the prospects of victory.
On April 13, 2004, "Big rally to support the struggle in JR"
was held. Members of 3 fired workers' groups gathered and stood on the
same stage for the first time since this struggle began. All the metropolitan
labor unions supporting this struggle got together. It was an epoch-making
rally. This rally is our new starting point of struggle. We are determined
to make this struggle for withdrawing 1047 dismissal an axis of concentration
to revive labor movement.
DORO-CHIBA (DC): National Railway Motive Power Union of CHIBA