July 30, 2012
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on July 29 attended the 26th Regular Convention of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) to deliver a speech in solidarity.
Shii at first said that in spite of the government change three years ago, the current government led by Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko of the Democratic Party of Japan is carrying out policies worse than those of successive Liberal Democratic Party governments. Focusing on the field of labor, Shii criticized the Noda government’s four adverse moves for intending to destroy decent working conditions.
First is a move to increase atypical workers. Shii reported that under the DPJ-led government, the percentage of contingent workers increased from 33% to 36%, and that the government panel on national strategy recommends that workers be employed on fixed-term contracts in principle. He called on Zenroren members to launch major fight against this move.
The second move is that the Noda government intends to create a society which allows employers to arbitrarily dismiss workers. Shii stressed that a move toward such a society is unacceptable, citing unfair dismissals of Japan Airlines workers and Social Insurance Agency workers as well as the major electronic companies’ plan to cut 110,000 jobs.
The third move is that the DPJ-led government refused to increase the minimum hourly wage rate which is the lowest among major industrial countries in relation to the cost of living. Shii pointed out that a raise in the national average of the minimum wage was only 7 yen per hour for the second year in a row, which widened the gap among regional minimum wages. He expressed his determination to work hard to achieve an across-the-board national minimum wage hike to 1,000 yen or more an hour.
Last is a move to reduce public workers’ wages. Shii criticized the wage-cut as a clear violation of the Constitution and said such an illegal move is unacceptable.
Shii said that joint struggles based on common ground of protesting against a consumption tax hike, nuclear power, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade pact, and U.S. military bases is developing on an unprecedented scale, and applauded Zenroren for playing an indispensable role in the struggle. He concluded his speech by expressing his hope for further advance in the Zenroren movement.