Starting from its 13th Biennial Convention held in October 2013, RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) has been conducting a campaign to "Stop the society in which gaps are widening! Raise the level of living standards!" However, the government is, under the leadership of the prime minister himself, going ahead with the examination of revisions for the worse of worker protection rules by deregulating dismissal rules and working hours so as to make it easier for employers to dismiss workers and force people to work longer hours without overtime pay, as well as by easily expanding the acceptance of foreign workers. If worker protection rules are revised for the worse in this way, the society in which gaps are widening will become even worse, economic growth will be stunted, and anxiety about jobs and the future will just keep on increasing.
In order to eliminate anxiety about jobs and the future, RENGO has positioned eight of the bills in its FY 2014 Action Policy for the Realization of Policies and Systems (Part 2) as top priority and is campaigning for the adoption of them in the current ordinary session of the National Diet. In particular, from the perspective of worker protection rules, RENGO is placing the spotlight on the bills to revise the Worker Dispatch Act and Part-time Work Act and a bill regarding special cases of fixed-term employment.
Meanwhile, as seen in the situation where the so-called working poor who are earning less than 2 million yen a year have exceeded more than 11 million people, gaps continue to widen and the sustainability of society is being threatened. Furthermore, many consultations and advisory services are being received and asked from the workers who work at the workplaces where work rules are not being kept.
Recognizing the danger of this situation, RENGO has built up nationwide general actions as proposed in its campaign to "Stop the society in which gaps are widening! Raise the level of living standards!"
In the nationwide general actions have been included submitting demands to and approaching the Labour Policy Deliberative Council, government, National Diet, and political parties, as well as open-air activities in communities and campaigning at every other opportunity. As the first phase of central action, on April 18, RENGO conducted a rally inside the National Diet and submitted a petition to the Diet, and then held a rally at which RENGO strengthened its determination to continue campaigning to the Diet and other activities.
The second phase, designed to bring together the voices of working people around the country, involved a central rally and simultaneous rallies held at the same time on May 27 in all of Japan's 47 prefectures. A total of 22,000 people participated in the rallies nationwide. The central and regional rallies were linked via the Internet, and a unified resolution was adopted. RENGO President Nobuaki Koga addressed the participants, saying, "The problem is that by seeking to adversely revise legislation relating to employment and working conditions, the government is riding roughshod over workers in order to achieve the growth of companies. The government is arbitrarily holding discussions in forums in which representatives of workers cannot participate. The Labour Standards Act and other worker protection rules are minimum rules. Backed by public opinion, we must show our solidarity and use every means possible to steadfastly prevent these revisions."