RENGO Holds 13th Biennial Convention
—"Stop the stratified society! Let's build a secure society through the solidarity of all workers!"—
RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) held its 13th Biennial Convention at the Tokyo International Forum on October 3-4 under the slogan "Stop the stratified society*! Let's build a secure society through the solidarity of all workers!" About 1,400 union members from affiliated organizations participated.
*The stratified society: the society in which the gap between the rich and the poor is widening.
At the beginning, RENGO President Nobuaki Koga delivered an address in which he said, "Two and a half years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake ocurred, but there are still 290,000 evacuees, and the road to rebuilding the lives of disaster victims and reconstructing and regenerating the disaster areas is still a long one. RENGO will continue making the utmost efforts to assist in the reconstruction and regeneration of disaster areas. As a result of Abenomics [the government's economic policy], the Japanese economy is growing, but at the same time it is necessary to link this growth to the recovery of incomes. We want our affiliates to think positively about monthly wage hike demands. The present government is considering legal revisions to enable companies to hire workers as easily disposable dispatch workers throughout their lives and also the establishment of a special zone where it would be easy to dismiss workers. Such changes cannot be tolerated. We will lobby the government to face up to the mature aging society accompanied by a super-low birthrate and declining population with a stance of mutual assistance by everyone and press for a shift from a socioeconomic system built on the premise of continued growth to "a secure society." RENGO will rally the power of communities and workplaces and stand up boldly to social irrationalities, beginning with deregulation in the field of labour."
Minister of Health, Labour, and Welfare Norihisa Tamura, representing the government, and Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Banri Kaieda attended as special guests. DPJ President Kaieda said with determination, "I would like to deeply apologize for our heavy defeats in last year's general election and July's House of Councillors election, which let you all down so badly. From the perspective of consumers and workers, we will make the utmost efforts to change the course of the neoliberal policies being aggressively promoted by the present government and thereby regain the trust of RENGO and union members."
Next there were addresses from the overseas guests, General Secretary Sharan Burrow of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), ITUC-AP General Secretary Noriyuki Suzuki, and General Secretary John Evans of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD-TUAC). In addition, 31 overseas representatives from 24 organizations, including ITUC members, attended the convention.
In the convention itself, RENGO General Secretary Hiroyuki Nagumo proposed draft action policies for fiscal 2014–15, including efforts to realize a 10-million-strong RENGO toward the expansion of collective labour-management relations; the expansion of organizing non-regular workers and improvement of their working conditions; the building of a secure society centered on work as its core; the realization of decent work; the strengthening of gender equality; the strengthening of political activities toward the realization of policies; and the realization of a sustainable society through fair globalization. Following questions and supplementary statements from delegates and confirmation of the leadership’s views on these draft policies, they were unanimously adopted.
There was also an election of officials, with Nobuaki Koga being reelected to a third term as president and Rikio Kozu being newly elected general secretary in the new lineup.