RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) held its 62nd Central Committee meeting on May 31 with the participation of 320 people, including central executive committee members and representatives of all of its affiliates and locals. The Central Committee meeting which is held every six months is the second important meeting after the Convention which is held every two years. The meeting this time was held in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, with the aims of getting to know the present condition of the disaster areas, which suffered enormous damages in last year's Great East Japan Earthquake, and deepening solidarity and bonds between the disaster areas and RENGO as a whole. It was the first time in 10 years for a Central Committee meeting to be held outside Tokyo.
At the beginning of the meeting, RENGO President Nobuaki Koga addressed to the participants on behalf of the RENGO headquarters. In his address, President Koga emphasized that fifteen months had passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred, but the recovery of the disaster areas and reconstruction of people's lives were not progressing as hoped. He also stressed that it was important to provide organized and sustained support and endeavor to achieve future-oriented regional and employment regeneration, such as reconstruction projects that would lead to the creation of new jobs and sustained employment."
Then, Miyagi Prefecture Governor Yoshihiro Murai, who was invited as a guest, delivered a speech titled "A Year after the Great East Japan Earthquake: Recovery and Reconstruction Efforts in Miyagi Prefecture," in which he outlined conditions in the prefecture, its disaster reconstruction plans, and its efforts to achieve reconstruction.
In the proceedings, RENGO headquarters proposed 1) a plan to realize a "10-million-member-strong RENGO," 2) draft priority policies for RENGO in FY2013, and 3) a draft interim report on the 2012 Spring Labour Struggle for a Better Life. Then, RENGO affiliates and locals expressed their opinions on or requests for such matters as further measures for the disaster areas and people who suffered damages in the earthquake and tsunami, the response to issues relating to medical treatment and nursing care in the disaster areas, and the need to deepen policy discussions toward the 2013 spring labor struggle. RENGO headquarters gave its views on these opinions and requests. The participants confirmed the proposals as a whole and unanimously approved them.
Main Points of RENGO President Koga's Address
1) Plan to Realize a 10-Million-Member-Strong RENGO
As a medium- to long-term strategy to break through the decline in the organization ratio, RENGO will aim at realizing a 10-million-member-strong RENGO on the basis of a study which will be conducted by the project team to be set up under the Organization Committee. In the eight years up to 2020, organization expansion will be the main pillar of the RENGO movement. The headquarters, affiliates and locals will strengthen their mutual solidarity and make the utmost efforts to realize this plan.
2) Interim Report on the 2012 Spring Labour Struggle for a Better Life
According to interim totaled results, the wage increases obtained by the 2012 Spring Labour Struggle for a Better Life were just about the same level as last year. There is much to reflect on, however, because they did not go as far as the level needed to restore personal consumption. In spring labour struggles from now on, RENGO, as the social responsibility of trade unions, will make stronger efforts to pursue more distribution to working people as a whole from the perspective of social consistency, so as to meet the expectations of society.
3) Priority Policies of RENGO in FY 2013
In the second fiscal year of the FY 2012-13 Policy and System Demands and Proposals, adopted at last year's convention, RENGO will concentrate on policies and systems that especially need to be realized. As a result of the contraction of business activities, corporate bankruptcies, and so on in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, employment has suffered considerably, and the unemployment situation remains severe.
The creation of high-quality employment is essential in order to fundamentally improve the employment problem. It is important to further establish legislation toward improving the rights and conditions of non-regular workers, including revisions of the Labour Contract Act and Part-time Work Act so as to systematically legalize fixed-term employment.
In addition, the employment situation for new graduates and young people is serious. RENGO will aim to create high-quality employment for young people by increasing opportunities for occupational skill development. For that purpose, the measures centered on vocational training and support for finding employment for young part-time job hoppers to find regular employment must be strengthened. Moreover, workplace problems such as the violation of labour laws and harassment must be eliminated and the chain of poverty must be cut off.
Furthermore, as a means of ensuring employment for people who wish to continue to work until the age of 65 and enabling them to design their lives in old age, RENGO will call for an early enactment of a bill to revise the Act concerning Stabilization of Employment of Older Persons. In this and other ways, RENGO will endeavor to expand employment centered on the concept of decent work and engage in activities aiming for the recovery of the quality of employment.