Sunday, June 26, 2016
Indian and Bangladeshi workers at curry restaurants in Tokyo
are on the brink of job and housing losses as the holding company
decided to close the restaurants as of June 20.
15 workers of Shanti, an Indian curry chain with five outlets in Tokyo,
have not been paid properly for last two years,
not at all this year. Many of them lost accommodation due to a fire in
February and have since been staying in the restaurants.
The president of the company recently demanded them in writing to leave
by June 17, while the workers maintain that they are willing to leave as
soon as they receive the salaries and overtime totaling 62.96 million
yen the company owes to them. They have filed complaints at a labor
standard office in Tokyo to recover the unpaid wages through
negotiation, but the company has not responded so far. The difficulties
of the workers who are threatened with eviction are exacerbated by the
lack of their abilities in the Japanese language. Some customers who are
supporting these workers have opened a Twitter account to disseminate
information. Follow @support4shanti and support the workers!
They are now formally organized!～Latest situation as of June 23
The workers established on June 23 an independent union with
a help of a Japanese labor lawyer. After the initial news came out,
the support to them surged: the twitter account followers quickly
reached over 2000, mass media and more independent journalists
visited the restaurants to cover this topic. On June 22, three workers
who are now the president, the vice president and the general-secretary
of the union appeared on the Labornet TV program. (By M)
Listen to the voices of non-regular workers, ‘Raise the minimum wage to 1,000 yen right now!’～ Action held at the Central Minimum Wage Council
The Central Minimum Wage Council was held on June 14 to deliberate on the national minimum wage, which will go into effect in October. Nearly 100 unions members campaigning for a “substantial minimum wage hike” converged on the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. They spoke through a microphone, demanding, “The current national average hourly wage is 798 yen, and it is too low. Raise the minimum wage right now and in each prefecture to 1000 yen, or better still 1500 yen!” During the central council, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister SHIOZAKI Yasuhisa emphasized, “The minimum wage hike is determined entirely by the economic growth.” Under the government proposal to raise the wage by 3 % each year (or by 24 yen), we have a long way to go toward achieving the target amount of 1000 yen and up to 1500 yen, and we will have little or no hope for that any time soon. SAITO Hiroki, an executive board member of the National Confederation of Trade Unions commonly known as Zenroren, sat in on the council meeting. “I was kicked out of the meeting as it was closed to the public,” Saito said in a chagrined tone. He was allowed in only at the beginning of the meeting. There are four council members representing workers, all of whom are leaders of Rengo, Japanese Trade Unions Confederation comprising major private companies. The 243 members of the Prefectural Minimum Wage Council are all Rengo-related. There are only a few female members, and no clear standard for electing and closed-door meetings. “It seems impossible for the council to improve the minimum wage system,” Saito said indignantly. (M)
6 月14日午後、今年10月からの最低賃金の水準を決める「中央最低賃金審議会・第一回」が厚労省で開催された。「最低賃金大幅引き上げキャンペーン」の労 組メンバー約100人は、厚労省前に集まりマイクで「現在の全国平均時給798円は低すぎる。いますぐどこでも1000円に！1500円をめざして」と訴 えた。審議会で塩崎厚労大臣は「経済成長あっての最賃引き上げ」を強調しており、政府案の年率3％（24円）では「1000～1500円」達成は遠い未来 で、実現もおぼつかない。傍聴した全労連常任幹事の斎藤寛生さんは、「非公開となり追い出された」と悔しそうに語る。傍聴できるのは冒頭だけなのだ。審議 委員には労働者代表が4人いるが、4人とも民間大手企業の「連合」の幹部たち。斎藤さんは「全国243人の審議委員の全員が連合系。女性もわずか。その選 ぶ基準も不透明。そして審議は非公開だ。これでは最賃制度はいっこうに改善されない」と憤っていた。（M）
It was the people power that stopped an anti-Korean group’s hate demonstration called, “demonstration to purify Kawasaki,” on June 5. Some 200 people gathered in Nakahara Peace Park in response to a call for counter action by Kawasaki citizens’ network to eradicate hate speech. Meanwhile, around 20 people of the hate group were only able to march forward for 10 meters before they were met with a sit-in protest by the people. Citizens surrounded the group and protested fiercely chanting and holding up banners and signs. The deadlock continued for a while, and finally the hate demonstration was called off. Chased away by angry citizens, the hate group members withdrew that day. It was a sound victory for the citizens who bet their lives on the line and staged a non-violent protest. (By SATO Kazuyuki) ＊photo=citizens stage a sit-in protest on the street.
Anger against Abe administration fills the air ～Students and citizens rally for victory in the upper house election
“The issue for the coming election is not Abenomics but the Constitution! Whether we can defend the Constitution or let it be revised. We are facing a critical stage. We should work desperately for a month to defend it,” YAMAGUCHI Jiro, one of the organizers of the rally, said, encouraging the 40,000 people who gathered in front of the Diet on June 5. Leaders of opposition parties firmly joined hands and shouted in unison, “For the victory in the upper house election!” Journalist TAKANO Hajime said, “I’m over 70, but I can’t die leaving this world irresponsible. I see that 70% of the participants are elderly. This is a senior democracy in front of the Diet. Folks, let us stand up once again!” Handmade placards seen here and there read, “Let’s go vote, not to war.” A youth who seemed to be a high school student held a sign that read, “Mr. Abe, do you enjoy destroying young people’s future?” It pained me. (By M)
「争 点はアベノミクスではなく憲法だ。憲法を守るのか変えるのか、今その瀬戸際にきている。これからの1カ月、死にものぐるいで結果を出さなくてはならな い！」。総がかり行動呼びかけ人・山口二郎氏が、6月5日の国会正門前集会で檄を飛ばした。この日、国会周辺は3つのエリアで計4万人以上が集まった。野 党代表ががっちり手をつなぎ、「参院選勝利に向けて」コールを上げた。ジャーナリストの高野孟氏は「私も70歳を過ぎたが、こんな世の中を無責任に残して 死ねるか。見渡すと7割がシニア世代。シニア民主主義の国会前だ。みなさんもう一度奮起しようではないか」と呼びかけた。「戦争いくより選挙にいこう」な ど手作りプラカードが目立つ。高校生と思われる若者が、国会に向けてボードを掲げていた。そこには「安倍さん、僕らの未来を壊して楽しいですか？」と手書 きで書いてあった。この言葉は私の胸に突き刺さった。（M）