Daily Doro-Chiba No.6875 \6876\6877
Don’t allow destructive intervention of JR-Soren in the struggle
of 1047 dismissed national railway workers!
Join us in November 1st Workers’ Rally!
JR-Soren (Japan Confederation of Railway Workers Union, JRU) is making
an outrageous attempt of intervening in the struggle of 1047 dismissed
national railway workers. The aim of this attempt is to justify the
historical betrayal of caving in to the management and the governing
party (Liberal Democratic Party) in the offensive of Division and Privatization
and spearheading the mass discharge of 200,000 national railway workers.
We shall never allow this.
On the way for the dismantling and privatization of the Social Insurance
Agency, one thousand employees have already been announced to be given
no job. The government is intent to introduce a Wider Range Local Government
System, in which 3 million 6oo thousand employees are to be once discharged
and be re-employed selectively after being screened in the new job.
It is an extreme form of privatization coupled with union busting. Against
this background, the class struggle is once again focused upon the struggle
of 1047 dismissed national railway workers against the outcome of the
Division and Privatization of National Railway that has failed to be
No intervention, no destruction
A booklet is being widely distributed free, a booklet titled, “An
Essay ?Tracing the labor movement of Doro (Locomotive Power Workers’
Union), an interim report of research meeting of hearing from JR-Soren”
and published by General Research Institute of International Labor,
an organ of JR-Soren. The author is Mr. TOTSUKA Hideo, a retired professor
of Tokyo University.
Following is a question and answer between Mr. TOTSUKA and MATSUZAKI
Mr. TOTSUKA: “Do you really mean that there is a possibility for
JR-Soren to listen to the request of the help from those groups fighting
against the Public Company of Railway Construction?”
MATSUZAKI: “We are ready to tackle with the issue and I’ll
ask the JR-Soren East to work on the headquarters of JR-Soren”
Now there are actually several moves within JR-Soren in regard to this
Is it really possible to expect help from JR-Soren in solving the issue
of the 1047 dismissed national railway workers? Absolutely no. Intervention
of JR-Soren only means an annihilation of all the achievements of the
23 years’ proud struggle of those workers and put and end to the
struggle in a destructive way. We must once again realize the great
significance of the long-years’ struggle of 1047 workers to Japanese
labor movement even though it has many problems to overcome. We shall
never allow JR-Soren to intervene in it with a destructive aim.
Justification of the betrayal
The booklet doesn’t deserve a serious reading but its intention
is clear. The author tries to justify the betrayal of the DORO (now
JR-Soren) headquarters, which spearheaded the attack of the capital
and the Liberal Democratic Party of carrying out mass discharge and
privatization, by describing the betrayal as “a labor initiative
of an alternative plan” and as “a search for a new unionism”.
The distinguishing character of this booklet is illustrated by the fact
that there is no line in it in regard to the following core problems
of the Division and Privatization of National Railway: what was brought
about to national railway workers by the privatization offensive; what
was the outcome of the whole development after the privatization for
the workers of the JR (Japan Railway Company); what a setback the labor
movement was forced to suffer all through the process not only for railway
workers but for the Japanese labor movement as a whole; and how terrible
the plight of Japanese workers in the actual situation as its result.
There is no word over these problems in the booklet of JR-Soren. Readers
encounter only beautiful descriptions of the development of JR instead
of severe reality in railway workplace and numerous unfair labor practices
committed by the management helped by DORO headquarters.
What really happened
The fact is as follows. In only 6 years before the privatization,
200,000 railway workers were thrown out of their jobs. 7 thousands and
several hundreds workers were announced to have no job in the new privatized
company, that is, fired. 200 workers were driven to suicide. The membership
of KOKURO (Japan National Railway Workers Union) was reduced from 240,000
to 40,000. All these developments were carried out as expected by the
plan and intention of the administration only with the help of DORO
headquarters that played a role of a faithful agent of the privatization.
The outcome was far beyond their expectation. Too many railway workers
left the job to fill the fixed number of personnel (shortage of personnel)
for three JR companies in Japan mainland. Nobody anticipated it. It
indicated workers’ anxiety: many workers felt it unbearable to
stay in such a terrible workplace threatened by extraordinary violent
intimidation of the management. It is of course due to the policy of
the government and capital of union busting. What drove workers to such
an extreme situation, however, was the betrayal committed by the labor
union itself whose name is DORO headquarters.
Deceitful promise to “defend your jobs”
Relatively senior workers were obliged to leave the job under
fierce pressure of the management. As a result at the start of the newly
privatized companies, it was found out that there was no worker older
than 50 years. The original plan of the Division and Privatization was
not to adopt workers older than 55 years in the new companies. Actually
what happened in workplaces of National Railway before the privatization
was to make veteran workers feel unbearable and impossible to keep working
in their workplace by the joint harassment of the JNR management and
DORO headquarters. In many work places, young union activists of DORO
headquarters threatened veteran workers who were union colleagues with
violent words, saying, “Clear the way for young workers!”
to turn workplaces to horrible scenes. It proves it is a downright lie
that DORO defended the job. The fact is they drove out of the job not
only members of other unions, such as KOKURO, but also even their own
“Replacement of the blood”
The most decisive and outrageous measure of completing the
detestable situation of workplace was the operation called “replacement
of the blood” by the JNR management and DORO headquarters. The
“replacement of the blood” meant a kind of union busting.
A large number of union members of DORO were transferred from Hokkaido
and Kyushu to the metropolitan area to replace activists of KOKURO there
with them and those expelled KOKURO members were sent to the notorious
“Center of activating human resources” where they were harassed
and intimidated. Senior workers were forced to leave the job under extraordinary
pressure. The major aim of MATSUZAKI was to fill the job of engineers
of the metropolitan area with the union members of DORO. Thus by the
“replacement of the blood”, the number of engineers belonging
to KOKURO in the metropolitan area was reduced to almost zero. 200 suicides
were its result.
MATSUZAKI tells the story of the “replacement of the blood”,
saying, “We have a lot of tomb stones behind us”. The reality
is not that poetic. It is the most detestable way for labor union “to
defend organization” in sacrifice of the members of other unions
and the senior workers including its own union members.
We never forget what MATSUZAKI said and what he actually did at the
moment when the job issues were “settled”, that is, who
were to be hired in the new companies and who were to be fired. He confessed
that he was offended by the fact that 20,000 members of Japan Communist
Party and Socialist Association were employed in the JR-East Company
and added, “In private company, those people could start strike.
They had repeated strikes before and did not repent it. I had asked
the management and the authorities concerned (that is, Liberal Democratic
Party!) not to allow them in new companies. It is my duty not to permit
strikes” (An interview given to the “Daily World”,
journal of Anti-Communist Federation, February, 1987)
At the moment when employment of national railway workers
belonging to KOKURO or Doro-Chiba in new companies to fill the personnel
shortage was decided, the DORO headquarters made an urgent proposal
to the management as follows: “We are witnessing a situation,
in which those who are opposed to the reform of National Railway are
employed in new companies to fill the fixed number of personnel, namely
215,000. It is contradictory with the Second Declaration of Labor-Capital
Collaboration and could endanger the foundation of the new business
entity. … The Conference for Reform has decided to make proposal
at the top level as well as at local level to the management of JR to
take an appropriate measure for the benefit of honest people, including
the reconsideration of the fixed number of personnel of 215,000. (A
correspondence of the Conference for Reform, January 1987). What DORO
headquarters really wanted was to fire union members of KOKURO and Doro-Chiba
even if it makes a personnel shortage against the law. The fighting
1047 national railway workers were dismissed under these circumstances.
Spearhead of destruction of SOHYO
Is it what their “labor initiative of an alternative plan”
really means? MATSUZAKI’s activities during the tumultuous development
were: to establish a friendly connection with the influential politicians
of Liberal Democratic Party, such as MITSUZUKA and HATANO, ex-Metropolitan
Police chief, to pledge loyalty to the execution of the Division and
Privatization of National railway to the JR management, to play a role
of agent of union busting of KOKURO and Doro-Chiba and finally to pay
courtesy to Anti-Communist Federation (the United Church) all for his
own survival. He did not hesitate to decide the departure of DORO from
SOHYO and to be agent of disbanding SOHYO as well as the Socialist Party
to clear the way for right-wing unification of labor front. It would
be unnecessary to talk much about the disastrous situation of Japanese
workers as a result of the new constellation of labor movement. “De-regularization
in labor world” triggered by the Division and Privatization of
National Railway has thrown more than 10 million workers into irregular
employment and brought about prevailing poverty all over Japan.
The last stage of degeneration
The booklet published by the Research Meeting of hearing on
JR-SOREN praises the “Declaration for Stabilizing of Cargo Transportation”
(to abandon strike) and the “Movement-Let’s work”
by JR-SOREN. Earlier, MATSUZAKI, sensing a danger of being destroyed
by the management when DORO fought militantly, may have judged that
a milder union policy in comparison with KOKURO could evade capital
assault. But intensified attack of the management did not allow such
a moderate and ambiguous policy of DORO. Finally, DORO was precipitated
into degenerating to be an agent of the privatization offensive as we
have seen above.
It is quite natural and inevitable that MATSUZAKI was forced to make
concession after concession to capital offensive in fear of being abandoned
by the management even after the privatization. MATSUZAKI confesses
his real feeling symbolically in the following words: “You may
feel at ease now as the unemployment rate stays under 3%. What have
we to do if it goes up to 6, 7 or 8%? We can’t sit in peace. We
should not hesitate to be engaged in everything to live, for example
even in war industry. It’s evident we don’t live in an ideal
world. It is my conviction. (MATSUZAKI’s lecture in Mito, July
1995). He was speaking the same thought as “Declaration for Stabilizing
of Cargo Transportation” (to abandon strike) and the “Movement-Let’s
work”. Don’t call it pretentiously “the labor initiative
of an alternative plan”
What was “a Great Turn”?
The booklet of “Research meeting of hearing from JR-Soren”
describes the “Declaration for Stabilizing of Cargo Transportation”
(to abandon strike) and the “Movement-Let’s work”
by JR-SOREN as “a choice after painful consideration”. The
reality was far from that.
Let’s remember what really happened in the DORO’s national
convention in Tsuyama in 1978, when “Declaration for Stabilizing
of Cargo Transportation” was issued. The delegation of District
Chiba of DORO (now Doro-Chiba) who opposed to the Declaration was assaulted
by the white terrorists, “union activists” of DORO headquarters.
By this outrageous violence in the convention hall, several union members
of the District Chiba of DORO got seriously injured on ribs and other
More than that. DORO headquarters proposed a resolution, “Those
union members who don’t dissociate with the Sanrizuka struggle
should be put to disciplinary measures”. It was apparently directed
at District Chiba of DORO that carried out the struggle against jet
fuel transportation to Narita Airport under construction at that time.
The fact is that DORO had once decided organizationally to support the
Sanrizuka struggle and District Chiba of DORO simply put this union
policy into militant practice.
About 40% of the whole delegation of the convention was against the
resolution. They were Districts of Mito, Sendai and Akita, to name only
the East Japan organizations. Later it was disclosed that the DORO headquarters
threatened those who opposed the resolution by possible transfer of
their jobs to other areas, for example Tokyo and Takasaki. It illustrates
DORO headquarters had (and has) been in a friendly terms with the National
Railway management in attacking dissident unionists.
Disciplinary measure on District Chiba
Actually DORO headquarters resorted to disciplinary measure
on District Chiba: expulsion of President SEKIKAWA of the local and
other three local officers and suspension of the right of union membership
of all the local executive committee. Upon this, we made a landmark
decision: “Doro-Chiba” was born as an independent union,
dissociated from DORO and took a choice of militant union.
The general appraisal of the Japanese labor world of this incident was:
“Unfortunately Doro-Chiba will be crushed through there is a great
deal of reason in what it says”. In fact, the DORO headquarters
repeatedly sent its gangsters to us to destroy union organization of
Doro-Chiba by assaulting the local union office and workplaces. These
outrageous violent attacks were made under the guise of “organizing
activity” in total recognition of the management and police. Immediately
thereafter, the offensive of the Division and Privatization of National
Railway began. We squarely confronted these attacks and succeeded to
crush them. We have been keeping our own struggle in a firm unity until
The booklet insists that only the “choice” taken by MATSUZAKI
was a right way at that moment to face the privatization offensive.
The fact is the contrary. The thought developed here is a thinking of
a slave who sees no other way for labor union than to cave in when the
ruling class turns to an all-out offensive. He has never thought of
the reality and validity of class struggle unionism. According to him,
labor movement has no value at all and the study into it would be meaningless.
The issue: Was MATSUZAKI a KAKUMARU member or not?
The booklet develops a long debate over the issue if MATSUZAKI is a
member of KAKUMARU or not, or labor union and political party are in
an incompatible relation etc, with a purpose of justifying MATSUZAKI’s
surrender to the Division and Privatization of National Railway offensive.
The question is not which political tendency somebody belongs or not.
Those organizations that seek the way of survival at the sacrifice of
workers are completely mistaken, be it a political party or a labor
union. One thing is clear: A union leader who doesn’t hesitate
to employ any sort of conspiratorial method for the survival of his
organization and to risk a large amount of job of workers, quite indifferent
of how labor movement has to suffer setbacks, such a union leader has
the very thought of KAKUMARU, if he belong to it or not. In this sense,
what MATSUZAKI has done and is now doing is the practicing the political
line of KAKUMARU itself.
What is really their “international solidarity”?
MATSUZAKI must surely be thinking of wiping off the brand
of “class traitor” that has help throw him off the Japanese
labor world. He asked Mr. TOTSUKA and Mr. HIGUCHI to help him and relied
upon ICLS (International Center of Labor Solidarity) that was abundantly
funded by DORO.
This booklet is translated into Korean language and now is being distributed
free. It is playing a harmful role in damaging the struggle of KCTU
against neo-liberal offensive.
Though JR-Soren officially proclaims anti-globalism, its reality was
exposed by the president of the Union of Airport Workers of Philippine
who attended to the July International Labor Conference in San Francisco.
He told us: “JR-Soren is pouring a large sum of money to bring
about split in our union organization with an aim of privatization.
They are even helped by the Philippine government. JR-Sore is a thief”.
When the delegation of Doro-Chiba attended an international conference
in San Francisco in 2003, we are asked by US workers, “Why are
the DORO unionists staying in such a luxurious hotel? What sort of people
Another “international activity” of JR-Soren is the foundations
of Technology Center of Japanese Art and Japanese Language School in
Poland. More than 100 million Yen ($one million) was offered by JR-Soren
to Poland in cooperation with Sumitomo Shoji and Toyota Motor Company.
JR-Soren is also developing “humanitarian project” in China
by helping construct schools. These activities of JR-Soren in Poland
and China play a role of promoting interest of Japanese corporations
there. What JR-Soren officially and publicly professes is quite different
from what it is actually practicing.
Corrupt Labor Aristocrats
MATSUZAKI is a typical labor aristocrat. You have to recognize
this fact. How is it possible for an ordinary worker to posses two villas,
respectively in Hawaii and Okinawa and condominiums in Shinagawa and
Saitama in Japan like he does? MATSUZAKI is utterly poisoned by money.
He might politely talk about “conscience”, but can never
conceal his corrupted way of life.
Incidentally, Mr. Totsuka praises a certain SHIOJI Ichiro as another
example of “distinguished” labor leader like MATSUZAKI and
MATSUZAKI in turn boasts friendship with him. But who is SHIOJI Ichiro?
SHIOJI, dubbed “Emperor of Nissan”, was appointed by Nissan
capital to the union president from among the informal organization,
named “Society for Corporation Research” composed of junior
career elite group. His favorite slogan was, “Crush militant union
local of Nissan! Practice for the prosperity of the company”.
A lot of books were published telling the stories of the fusion of Nissan
and Prince Motor companies in 1960’s, in which numerous incidents
of union busting took place, for example, brutal group lynching of militant
union activists and organizing an in-house network of secret information
on dissident activities. Shioji was a major organizer of this union
busting and assumed an enormous power in Nissan even “above the
corporate president”. He ended up being expelled as a result of
inner conflict of the management. His ups-and-downs may seem very much
like that of MATSUZAKI. But it is not to be admitted to present him
as an excellent example of a new way of unionism.
Close relationship with JR capital
MATSUZAKI seized the power over JR-Soren after the privatization.
It is a product of collaboration between JR companies and JR-Soren,
a joint rule over workers.
The scheme of the ruling class was perhaps to use up DORO headquarters
as agent of the privatization policy and to abandon it after a certain
period. The development was as was planned in JR companies in West,
Tokai (middle Japan), Shikoku and Kyushuu. But in the JR East Japan
(as well as Cargo company and Hokkaido), JR-Soren (current form of DORO
after the privatization) maintained an extraordinary close relationship
with the management through a sly and skilled way of MATSUZAKI until
It is impossible to describe the whole picture of what happened there
into details, but the major point is that JR-Soren accepted every rationalization
plan of the JR company successively presented in the past two decades
and played a role of management’s agent in executing the rationalization
plan forcibly in workplace. Many of these practices demonstrated the
way how corrupt labor union could do to enforce corporate plan on workers
and thus encouraged capital.
Spearhead of irregularization
Let’s take an example of the revision of the service
system of engineers. (train drivers) The revision intends to introduce
a new way of accounting the work hours, according to which the wait
time at the destination of outward journey before homeward journey is
to be excluded from work hour. Even in private railways, such a system
doesn’t exist. Thus long-time binding hour is reduced to a shorter
regular (nominal) hours. In the workplace of care workers, this new
system is already introduced with the result that travel time is not
counted as work hours. This terrible working condition has been admitted
as normal in certain parts of the labor world.
Another example of capital- labor collaboration in JR East company is
the introduction of “senior system” It intends to address
the increased strain to the management caused by the gradual raising
of pension eligible age and inevitable extension of period of employment
up to the age of 65. The “senior system” provides the employees
older than retirement age of 60 with a possibility of re-employment
in a related company in which they can work till qualified age for full
pension. But the management puts a condition for the reemployment: only
those employees who passed the employment test are to be adopted in
a new company. It is apparently the same system of selective employment
as was implemented in the course of the Division and Privatization of
National Railway. Moreover, those employees, who are not affiliated
to the unions that made a labor contract over outsourcing of jobs (irregularization
of employment) will be excluded from the applicant of a new job. Thus
JR-Soren has completely degenerated into a spearhead of outsourcing
policy of the JR company.
JR-Soren organized a big campaign of commending the” senior system”
as “an outstanding system beyond comparison with the system of
extension of employment period of other companies” “Only
the union members of JR-Soren East Japan are qualified for re-employment”.
It is an open discrimination against other JR unions, especially against
The “senior system” was eventually abolished in five years
since the applicants decreased year by year because of a terrible working
and pay conditions, under which, a full-time work is paid only \120,000
or 130,000 ($1200~1300) monthly (after tax-pay). Notwithstanding, outsourcing
irregularization of employment has been accelerated through the conclusion
of the labor contract between JR companies and JR-Soren that actively
advocated outsourcing policy of the capital. As a result, irregularization
of employment has spread over every kind of jobs: station service, maintenance,
electricity, signal and communication system, construction, reparation,
operation in yard, etc. JR-Soren, in caving in to the privatization
offensive, spearheaded and consistently promoted the capital’s
policy of irregularization of employment that has now become a serious
JR East company is forcing severe rationalization offensive upon railway
workers by the full help of JR-Soren East who is surpassing any other
company unions in its concession to capital.
Cave-in in the Safety Issue
JR-Soren East has not only accepted rationalization policy of JR company
unconditionally but also has actively supported the company in the practice
of privatization and deregularization, which produced grave danger of
railway accidents. The union bosses defended the JR company in railway
accidents at the sacrifice of workers, union members, who were involved
in accidents. They feared that the JR management executives could be
replaced and consequently the close relationship of the union and the
management could suffer a damage if the responsibility of the JR company
for railway accidents was revealed. Thus JR-Soren has had a considerable
merit for JR company. It is exactly a typical company union just like
those unions which are engaged in labor-capital collaboration in concealing
Higashi-Nakano Station Accident
Let’s take an example of a railway accident. We never
forget the train collision that took place on December 5th 1988 at Higashi-Nakano
station of local service on the Sobu line. The engineer and one of the
passengers were killed and many were injured. The engineer belonged
to Tsudanuma yard local of JR-Soren East.
This accident was caused apparently by the requirement put forward in
the revision of the diagram that demanded engineers excessive speed-up
and shortening of driving hour. Actually the JR company demagogically
propagated, “One-minute shortening of driving hour is worth 100
million Yen’s advertisement expenses” (management’s
remark in the collective bargaining talks of Higashi-Chiba). Even before
the revision of the diagram, a lot of trains ran behind the schedule
in rush hour because of flooding passengers. Chiba local office of JR
distributed to engineers directives that contained an illegal order
to drive through the red light in congested traffic. The accident happened
just five days’ after the distribution of the directive and in
a circumstance as was described in the JR’s directive: the trains
were running largely behind the schedule.
A union member was killed and how the union reacted
At the news of the accident, we instantly went into a struggle
for rail safety and publicly exposed and denounced the illegal order
by the JR management. We succeeded to restore the previous timetable
before the revision of the diagram at the time of the annual revision
of the diagram the next year.
JR-Soren East emerged as “palace guard” of JR company. It
argued in its paper, “Other unions (than JR-Soren) attribute the
responsibility of the accident to the JR company. But the investigation
is still under way and it is not right to insist the revised diagram
caused the accident”(“East JR Labor Journal” published
just after the accident). “…[Doro-Chiba] is waging the ‘rail
safety struggle’ demanding the reduction of the driving speed
to the level as that of before the revision of the diagram. But it is
evident that railway accident could not be stopped in this way”
“KOKURO pretends to be engaged in an activity to prevent railway
accident, arguing unduly on ‘revision of diagram’ ‘personal
management’ ‘unfair labor practice’ etc.” (Union
resolution of JR-Soren East ‘to restore passengers’ confidence
on railway transport’ adopted five days after the accident) “Social
attention is focused upon how JR-Soren East and JR East Company address
the accident and at the same time mass media is concerned about Emperor’s
illness. Under these circumstances you are requested to give instruction
to union members to perform as unionists of JR-Soren East as well as
company employees of JR East in a correct and disciplined manner in
drinking parties not to provoke indecent impression.” (Directive
of Chiba local of JR-Soren East published on the day of the railway
accident). This is all what JR-Soren East did when one of its union
members was killed in the accident and the workplaces of engineers were
filled with indignation!
On Otsuki station accident
In the past 23 years, JR-Soren East has reacted to railway
accidents in the same way. Let’s examine another example: the
Otsuki station accident in October 1997. A shunting train collided with
a limited express train passing Otsuki station of the Chuo line at the
speed of 100 km/h, causing derailment of seven carriages.
Mass media reported, “Miracurously no one was killed in the derailment
While the JR company was publicly criticized for its unimaginable practice
of forcing an untrained worker (with 2 years and 6 months duty records
without technical training) to operate shunting work, JR-Soren East
repeatedly insisted that it was the fault of the engineer of the shunting
train and tried to evade the responsibility of the JR company.
The engineer who was a union member of JR-Soren East was indicted and
tried. But the union did not retain a lawyer for him. He was fired by
the company without any help from his own union or else!
What did MATSUZAKI at that time?
Let’s see what MATSUZAKI was doing at that moment of the accident
and its aftermath. On the 10th meeting of the Policy Forum, which was
held one month after the accident and the involved engineer was being
questioned by police day after day, he made a speech, in which he excessively
and extraordinarily praised the JR East company, “The executives
of the company is wonderful and tactful to develop the issue from the
pursuit of the responsibility for the accident to the investigation
into its cause. They are highly qualified for the business on the international
scene. Mr. Matsuda has evolved into a great president. It was a result
of the excellent achievement of management philosophy and corporate
culture. I am very proud of the development of labor-capital relationship
in JR East Company that is capable to distinguish between the categories,
namely, pursuit of the responsibility for accident and investigation
into its cause.”
Mr. Totsuka highly evaluates MATSUZAKI’s argument, “We are
not for labor-capital collaboration but for labor-capital cooperation”
“Labor and capital stand not exactly in an equal but in a nearly
equal position” It is apparently a tricky rhetoric to conceal
true nature of his close relationship with the management. But MATSUZAKI’s
speech above exposes what his “nearly-equal relationship with
the JR company really is at the critical moment after the grave railway
JR-Soren keeps complete silence over the rail accident on
the Uetsu-sen line of JR East Company, demanding lives of five passengers,
while criticizing the JR West Company for the previous Amagaski accident
and attributing the cause of the accident to “in-house daily drilling”
of the company. JR-Soren, who are always insisting on the urgency of
rescuing the global ecological crisis sharing scarce resources, defends
JR East Company’s unlawful taking of water from Shinano river
causing serious social problem. How does the JR East Company explain
such a double standard?
The reason is quite simple. It is now crucial for JR-Soren to maintain
the close relationship with JR-East Company at any cost, while JR-West
changed its policy of cooperating with JR-Soren and the union organization
of JR-Soren collapsed in west Japan.
It was a shameful scandal that the Division and Privatization of National
Railway was carried out through a close cooperation of the gigantic
state-owned enterprise (National Railway, now Japan Railway Company)
and KAKUMARU on the one hand, and through inner conflict over acquisition
of huge concessions and assets of the National Railway on the other
hand. JR-Soren offered all-out cooperation to the privatization offensive.
But several years after the implementation of the National Railway privatization,
privatized new companies, JR Companies, changed their labor policy and
liquidated relationship with JR-Soren. As a result, in west and central
Japan, JR-Soren suffered a serious organizational damage. In Shikoku,
a western Japan island, its union members were reduced to zero. JR-Soren
was thrown away after being fully utilized. I am not criticizing JR-Soren
for becoming a minority. The problem is what was a labor union that
instantly vanished when the company changed its labor policy? It was
exposed that JR-Soren, a gigantic labor union, owed and owes its existence
to the labor policy of JR company. This is no more a labor union. There
is no labor unity.
It is the case not only with western Japan but also with eastern Japan.
JR-Soren knows no other way for the maintenance of its union organization
than to cave in to the company and ease union members. In fact, almost
20% of JR-Soren East is occupied with station masters, heads of district,
superintendents, office managers of the JR headquarters and local branches,
etc. JR-Soren East is based on an extraordinary basis, in which workplace
bosses, unionists, control rank and filers who are also unionists. New
employees are forced to affiliate to JR-Soren without choice. ,
What is really happening in workplace?
As a result, the situation in workplace became suffocating.
Not only unfair labor practice has become daily performance, such as
discriminative promotion, unjust job transfer, forceful demand of retirement,
but also spying and controlling system has been organized everywhere
in workplace. Any criticism on the company or the union is immediately
reported. Any contact with other unions is exposed on the unions’
paper and denounced as “union destroyer” and often results
in expulsion from JR-Soren.
JR-Soren East is making a noisy sound on the Urawa Train Depot Incident,
which is described as an intentional political repression on the union
by JR-Soren East. But in fact, it is nothing but a typical case of violent
harassment of dissident union members by JR-Soren. The union member
who was branded as “union destroyer”, was finally forced
to give up the job. The harassment took place in a training room of
the company, where the union dissident was severly “interrogfated”
and almost tortured by JR-Soren’s “activists” for
many days. The company intentionally overlooked it. This is what really
happening in the workplace of JR East Company.
A new orientation of labor movement?
As the Urawa Train Depot Incident was publicly exposed as
group-lynching of a union dissident by JR-Soren, the police sensed that
it would be put in an awkward position if it didn’t address the
case and decided to arrest several JR-Soren unionists as responsible
for it. After this state power intervention, JR East Company has begun
thinking over throwing out JR-Soren as being used up for its profit.
MATSUZAKI is driven in to a crisis. For his survival, he is desperately
trying to find out how to rearrange his relationship with the JR East
Company in a new advert situation. Sometimes he declares his faithfulness
to capital and sometimes he boasts about his power and influence over
Aware o unaware of these circumstances and recent developments, Mr.Totsuka
and Mr.Higuchi appeared on the stage.
Mr.Totsuka and others praise MATSUZAKI’s thought as “new
orientation of labor movement”. But there is nothing new in it.
It is a repetition of the old thought “No company, no worker”.
Doro-Chiba has chosen quite a different way from this old thought. It’s
not a special way. It puts the basic aim of the struggle in “strengthening
and expanding unity” and orientates the policy by this aim.
In face of the offensive of the Division and Privatization of National
Railway, KOKURO’s leadership exposed its inability to fight back
the attack and DORO headquarters spearheaded the National Railway privatization
for its survival at the sacrifice of workers. It was no doubt extremely
difficult to choose the way of militant confrontation as a minor union
like Doro-Chiba in the crossfire of attack while the major unions surrendered
one after another. In spite of this adversity, Doro-Chiba put everything
on the objective to maintain unity and pride of the working class and
waged strikes through organizing anger and power of individual union
All kind of union busting was concentrated upon Doro-Chiba: 40 union
members’ unjust dismissal: unjust job transfer of one hundred
and several scores of workers; claim for damage amounting to several
millions, transfers of job covering tens of thousands km from Chiba
to Tokyo, in fact elimination of jobs of Doro-Chiba union members (as
a result of the cooperation of the management and the DORO headquarters).
But we were not defeated. Doro-Chiba is keeping the fight in unity and
defending 40 dismissed union members. Now workers’ struggle is
expanding all over the world.
It may be difficult but not impossible to maintain unity against all
kind of difficulties, sticking to aposition neither to surrender to
the actual hardship nor to talk in an abstract world apart form the
actual situation. Explosion of potential power of labor movement and
workers’ struggle would prove this.
With pride in mind
According to the view of MR. Totsuka, Doro-Chiba may be classified
as “silly people”. Let them say what they want. But we never
concede on the following point: workers are very proud people. Workers
are no more than workers and they are no less than workers. We are determined
to share all the plight with unionists in workplace against any adversity
and are resolutely ready to continue fighting in unity with the conviction
that individual workers has power to change the society.
We never allow intervention of JR-Soren in the struggle of 1047 dismissed
national railway workers.
Let’ gather to November workers’ Rally!
DORO-CHIBA (DC): National Railway Motive Power Union of CHIBA