International Labor Panel in San Francisco
July 18, 2004

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(The DC News No.46 )(Japanes)

July 18, 2004 International Labor Panel in San Francisco

Report from Doro-Chiba,
National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba, Japan

Contents

1. First of all
2. Our spring labor offensive strikes in 2004 and a new upsurge of the Japanese labor movement
(1) Doro-Chiba's fundamental standpoint
(2) The first strike of our spring labor offensive, 2004
(3) The second and third strikes of our spring labor offensive, 2004
(4) Epoch-making united action of anti-war struggle of March 20
(5) Education workers' struggle
(6)Struggle for withdrawal of 1047 workers' dismissal
3. State of Affairs in Japan
(1) Legislation of the Emergency Laws
(2) Intensification of Oppression against Labor Movement
(3) Oppression of Freedom of Speech and Instigation of Chauvinism
(4) Decisive Battle against Constitutional Revision
(5) Current situation of Japanese workers and labor movements
(6) "Okuda-vision" of Nippon-Keidanren
4. We tackle these problems

1. First of all

Sisters and Brothers, we thank you all for your invitation to attend and speak before this excellent meeting.
I am President of Doro-Chiba TAMAKA Yasuhiro. Doro-Chiba, National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba, is a union of drivers operating in Tokyo area and Chiba Prefecture and engineers.
Last November in Tokyo, we held a 3000-strong international workers solidarity rally of Japanese, Korean and US workers against fierce attack on workers' rights and the war. We deeply appreciate Mr. Steve Zeltzer Mr. Russell Miyashiro and all sisters and brothers who sent them. This rally made a great impact on the Japanese labor movement. The seeds sown by the international solidarity rally are bourgeoning and growing defying capital's and state power's intense attack on the labor movement and servility of union bureaucracy. We feel now more and more confident in great power of international solidarity between comrades who continue strenuous fight against war, oppression and privatization and against their governments and capitals.

I am very pleased to report that, last December, we got the Kokuro 8 out of 15-month unjust detention. The Kokuro 8 gave out handbills to the delegates of their own union convention, protesting impending disciplinary measures on dismissed workers who demanded withdrawal of their dismissal. The state power and the Kokuro union bureaucracy fabricated "violent act" and arrested the Kokuro 8 four months after the convention. The railway worker of the Kokuro 8 have immediately returned to their workplaces and continue their struggle for withdrawal of 1047 workers' dismissal and for rebirth of the Kokuro, National Railways Workers' Union. San Francisco Labor Council gave great assistance to us passing a resolution supporting the Kokuro 8. Sisters and brothers, we wish to thank you very much again.

We have a message from the comrades of the Local Seoul of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, who were very eager to attend this meeting. Regrettably they cannot come hear because of their all-out struggle of June and July. However, their message reads: "Our international solidarity with US and Japanese workers remain firm and solid." With the US and Japanese workers, also the workers of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions fight against the war on Iraq. Under the violent oppression, they launch great strikes to bring the troops home, to abolish discrimination against irregular workers, to increase in the minimum wage, to stop negotiation of Korea-Japan Free Trade Agreement.

2. Our spring labor offensive strikes in 2004 and a new upsurge of the Japanese labor movement

(1) Doro-Chiba's fundamental standpoint

Well then, I report our recent struggles.
In the first half of the year 2004, Doro-Chiba fought several struggles including strikes during the spring labor offensive, appealing following issues to workers throughout Japan.
First, the spring labor offensive 2004 became a decisive battle. Because the government and the business had been launching violent attacks against workers. To lower wages, to force the majority of them into irregular jobs, to disimprove the pension system and to deny the right to organize through changing the Labor Union Law for the worse.
Second, Japanese workers had now to fight "the war at home" and "the war abroad." Because the government sent the Self Defense Forces to Iraq and the Emergency Laws were to be laid on the table, flagrantly violating the Constitution, which reads "Japanese people forever renounce war" "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained."
Third, we had to link strikes on workplaces and the international anti-war rally on March 20, an anniversary of the start of the new war on Iraq. Because it was our greatest opportunity to materialize workers' broad united action and to fight back Koizumi Administration, changing power relationship between classes.
Fourth, we had to strike against ruining safety on Japan Railways caused by privatization, sweeping contracting out and deregulation and against rampant union busting and against repression on struggle for withdrawal of the 1047 workers' dismissal.

(2) The first strike of our spring labor offensive, 2004

On February 10, the struggle started upon unfair transfer of our member just before reaching retirement. We immediately issued a directive to that member to wage a strike and a directive to all members to launch a non-cooperation struggle. We continued this first wave of struggle for 16 days until February 25 and won a historic victory for us.
The struggle was not only against unfair transfer of a union member but also against a flood of disastrous consequences. Japan Railways Companies are now contracting out nearly all of the rail transportation business: maintenance of rails and electric facilities, inspection and repair of cars, stations, conductors and so on. Rail safety is thus ruined. We have continually struck and resisted on shop floor against contracting out. In our workplaces, Chiba area, we have fully stopped contracting out of inspection and repair of cars. We thus force the JR Companies personnel shortage; even a massive vacancy would be possible.
On the other hand, after 17 years from the privatization of the National Railways tens of our members unfairly deprived of driving or inspection and repair jobs and transferred to dispersed workplaces. They are until now fighting persistently under hostile policy of the management toward Doro-Chiba in isolated places.
With the first strike, we gained not only substantial withdrawal of the forced transfer of one member but also reinstatement of many members transferred long ago. This modest victory is only a beginning, but a beginning of a struggle that will shake the very system of privatized railways. We can. We can win, because we struck against the privatization of the National Railways in spite of fierce repression: 40 members were unfairly fired and nearly 100 were transferred and because we continue our struggle, supporting our dismissed and transferred members. So our victory in February shall bring about decisive meaning.

(3) The second and third strikes of our spring labor offensive, 2004

The second struggle was a strike of all our members from March 12 to 14, just on the day of the timetable revision. The main issue was rail safety, ruined as a result of privatization. Recently, accident and disruption of rail traffic are more and more frequent: fractures of rail, accidents in track maintenance work irresponsibly contracted out and so on. We struck for full compliance of safety measures and the management apologized their cover-up of rail fracture accidents.

We launched the third strike on March 29. The main issue was the management attempt to revise the wage system for worse. Our membership comprises of workers in JR East, a passenger train company, and in JR Freight. The freight company wishes to introduce a new wage system based on so-called "merit system". The intention is clear: reduction of personnel cost and destruction of workers' unity. We stopped the introduction of this system on April 1, however, the struggle continues.

(4) Epoch-making united action of anti-war struggle of March 20

Along with the strikes on the shop floor, we did all we could to materialize an anti-war broad united action, crossing borders of national labor federations, on the anniversary of the launching of the war on Iraq.
The union bureaucracies of two national labor federations, Rengo and Zenroren, have degenerated and become more and more servile to the government and business. Many of Japanese labor unions support reduction of wages and dismissal of workers, and war legislation. They are suppressing workers hand in hand with the government and capital. On the shop floors, however, workers' anger is erupting; rank and file workers are beginning great revolt. Our most important task is to bring together all the voices of such workers and come on the scene as a new current of labor movement.
Development of cooperation of labor unions against war developed into 20 Labor Unions & Organizations of Land, Sea, Air & Ports. This joint struggle organization was formed crossing different national federations, comprises the labor unions of air, maritime and rail traffics, longshore, medical care and so on, which would be compulsorily mobilized to war. They cooperate in one issue: opposition against war and Emergency Legislation.
Together with 20 Labor Unions & Organizations of Land, Sea, Air & Ports we called for organizing the anti-war rally of March 20 as a broad united action with great turn-out, in order to make a turning point in Japanese labor movement. We repeatedly discussed and realized maturity of conditions for it. Thus we appealed a nationwide struggle.
This movement grew tremendously and even Rengo and Zenroren could not eventually ignore it. The turnout was 60,000 in Hibiya Park, Tokyo and one million throughout Japan. This joint action of the unions affiliated to Rengo and those of Zenroren was the first since 1989, the year of the destruction of the then national labor federation, Sohyo, and establishment of right wing united federation, Rengo.

(5) Education workers' struggle

Another two struggles were born in this upsurge of working class.
The one is the education workers' struggle. Every year in March, Japanese schools hold graduation ceremonies. This year the "national flag", Hinomaru or Rising Sun and "national anthem", Kimigayo or His Majesty's Reign became much more important issue of resistance than the previous years. The Rising Sun is a symbol of aggressive wars of imperialist Japan on Korea, China and throughout East Asia. Kimigayo, His Majesty's Reign is off course a hymn of Japan reined by Emperor. Japanese workers have long been resisted the flag and the song.

The government aimed to obligate people to pay homage to the state by legislating the National Flag and Anthem Law. Particularly in Tokyo where Fascist Ishihara is the governor issued a directive to impose draconian disciplinary measures on teachers who did not stand erect before flag or did not sing His Majesty's Reign.
The teachers unions of Tokyo caved in and issued instructions to obey business order. The rank and file of education workers, however, resisted courageously. More than 300 in Tokyo and 1000 throughout Japan sat down. 480 education workers filed lawsuit against disciplinary measures or unjust directive itself. This group of plaintiffs has laid a new foundation of labor movement's rebirth.

(6) Struggle for withdrawal of 1047 workers' dismissal

Another is the development of joint struggle between workers of Doro-Chiba, Kokuro (National Railways Workers' Union) and Zendoro (All National Railway Locomotive Engineers' Union) for withdrawal of 1047 workers' dismissal. This 17 year struggle has been experiencing very severe circumstances: the National Executive of Kokuro, National Railway Workers Union have caved in and rapidly degenerated in face of prolongation and difficulty of the struggle.
First, the Kokuro Executive accepted a "proposal of solution" by the Liberal Democratic Party and so on. The proposal was a de facto demand of unconditional surrender: "Kokuro shall approve that the newly privatized Japan Railway Corporations do not owe legal responsibilities. The Kokuro shall decide to admit the above declaration in the National Congress of the trade union." "cancellation of litigation" and then "The ruling parties will present a demand to the privatized JR corporations across the nation to the effect that the corporations will start negotiation talks with the Kokuro's area headquarters and seek for solutions."

Quite naturally, many members of Kokuro vehemently spoke out against the National Executive's decision and the extraordinary convention was called out. Kokuro's disruption became very deep. And finally the Kokuro Executive held another convention, keeping out opposition workers with help of riot police. They imposed disciplinary measures on opposition workers and sold out their own union members who appealed to continue the struggle to the police.
In these circumstances, Doro-Chiba has been appealing to workers throughout Japan as follows:
1. The struggle for withdrawal of 1047 workers' dismissal is now on its critical stage, not only critical for their jobs but also for rebirth or destruction of Kokuro and labor movement in Japan Railways. We must reconstruct our struggle returning to the principle of labor movement.
2. Therefore, the 1047 dismissed workers belonging to three unions must unite crossing their differences and appeal the struggle to workers throughout Japan.
3. In addition, the struggle against the unjust arrest and long detention of workers who fight the 1047 workers' struggle must be furthered into a nation-wide great struggle.
On April 13, the dismissed workers of Doro-Chiba, Kokuro and Zendoro stood together on the platform of Hibiya Hall. Labor unions of Tokyo metropolitan area gathered together. The rally made a new start line of the 1047 dismissed workers' struggle.

3. State of Affairs in Japan

(1) Legislation of the Emergency Laws

Next, I talk briefly about the background of Japanese labor movement today.
Today, Japanese workers face an ordeal: extreme reactionary policies reversing the ruling system of Japan after World War II.
In June last year, the three Emergency Laws were enacted; in December, the Law for the Troops Dispatch to Iraq. Last June, seven Emergency Laws and the revision of U.S.-Japan Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement and so on were enacted. These legislations provide for centralization of authority to Prime Minister in an emergency; commandeering or control of land, houses, traffic and communication facilities; forcibly engage workers in designated activities, reciprocal provision of logistic support, supplies and services between Self-Defense Forces and the US Forces; treatment of prisoners of war and so on. Japan has now almost every statutory law needed to launch a war.

(2) Intensification of Oppression against Labor Movement

For five years or so, oppressive laws have been enacted one after another. Three laws of Countermeasures against Organized Crime, including Wiretapping Law; National Flag and Anthem Law; Organization Control Law; several laws to centralize information management, to prohibit donation to certain organizations, and for preventive detention; revision for worse of Immigration Control Law and Police Law; attempted introduction of "crime of conspiracy"; drastic revision of the justice system and so on.
Most alarmingly of all, the opposition parties bent down and most of these oppressive laws have been passed by overwhelming majority of the Parliament. Conformism of the media has grown very rapidly; the public are not informed of very contents of these laws. Even the biggest national labor federation, Rengo, published their opinion supporting the Emergency Laws. Many groups and forces are now becoming collaborators of war again.
Oppression against resistance is intensified. Union members who handed over flyers to their own convention delegates were arrested on a charge of "violent act" (the case of Kokuro 8); peace activists who distributed flyer in official residences of Self Defense Forces were arrested on a charge of "trespassing"; an activist was arrested in front of the Parliament with the pretext that the magnitude of sound from the portable microphone was "violent"; fully peaceful anti-war demonstrators were arrested; and so on. Unprecedented trivial causes were repeatedly used to arrest, indict and detain people extremely long.

(3) Oppression of Freedom of Speech and Instigation of Chauvinism

Recently three Japanese were captured and thereafter other two were captured and released. All of them were activists of peace movement. The cause of the capture was clear: Japanese government had sent the Self Defense Forces to Iraq and the US Forces had committed massacre in Fallujah. In Japan, however, after the families demanded withdrawal of the Self Defense Forces, the Japanese government organized defamation campaign against the captured and their families. They were subjected to a kangaroo court of the media: "Their behavior lacking self-responsibility causes a good deal of trouble. They owe profound apology" "They must consider the national interest." There is now a same structure as the oppression under the imperial Japan before the end of World War II. People who do not conform to the government's policy are to be ostracized as "non-patriot."
Today in Japan, a flood of chauvinism and hostility against North Korea are brought forth every day. The ruling class aims to change the spirit of the age into hate and fear.
The ruling class is intent on transformation of government form into an iron fist one, passing emergency bills and oppression bills, repressing militant labor unions and anti-war activists and organizing chauvinist campaign.

(4) Decisive Battle against Constitutional Revision

Our struggle against such political reactions reaches a crucial point just in the time span of this summer to next year. For the dominant class is about to put the constitutional revision on the political agenda. In Japan we haven't experienced a revision of our constitution after World War II. It is the main purpose of the imperialist bourgeoisie to revise Article 9, which provide for both permanent abandonment of use of force and non-maintaining of army, navy, air force and other war potential. In connection with this move, Fundamental Law on Education, that corresponds our peace constitution, is also targeted to revise in the extraordinary session of the Diet in this autumn. If this occurred, the main philosophy of education would be transformed from pursuing of peace into developing of patriotism.
On the basis of results of our struggles in this spring, we are determined to prepare a big-scale fight against the constitutional revision toward 2005.

(5) Current situation of Japanese workers and labor movements

Being closely related to these political attacks, a full-scale aggression against workers and labor movement is on the move.
The unemployment rate in Japan is some 5% according to government statistics. But this rate is based on the Japanese-unique standard and in reality far more than 10% on the global standard. No less than 10% of all households earn only $ 13,000 income annually and the rate of irregular workers is increasing rapidly; 32% in 2003. Wages are falling 4 years consecutively and 40% of people aren't able to pay national pension premiums (national pension is the basement of Japanese public pension system and all the Japanese people over 20 are bound to affiliate themselves to this). About 30,000 people commit suicide every year, 10,000 of them for economic reasons. On the other hand, major corporations have, as a result of wage cut and dismissal, got unprecedented big profits at the closing account of this March.

The Parliament of last and this year made a large number of law-revisions one after another: dismissal has been admitted as right of employers; irregular employment such as employment for short period and employment on temporary status has been completely permitted; public pension system has undergone a sweeping reform; period and amount of unemployment benefit are drastically decreased etc. In short, the Japanese workers are faced with the situation, where their right to live is on the point of being totally deprived.
Rengo (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) has accepted such attacks almost all, saying in the same way as the government and the business circle, that is, "There is no other way to maintain international competitiveness". Also Zenroren (National Confederation of Trade Unions) has thoroughly given up to organize strikes and other forms of fights, advocating "a democratic reform within the framework of capitalism". In the face of such debacle of existing labor movements, fierce anger of rank and file workers is on the verge of bursting up.

(6) "Okuda-vision" of Nippon-Keidanren

Publishing two reports of December last year and January this year, Nippon-Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) has issued a blueprint for fundamental change of domination over workers. These reports, so-called "Okuda-vision"(Okuda is the president of this organization) say for example, "Japan is on the edge of collapse", "For the sake of flourishing forest we must cut off branches and plow out weeds", "Some people have a false idea as if there existed now a stabile small happiness and it would continue to exist eternally" and "They seem to be nothing but aliens." Okuda-vision urges labor unions to degenerate through and through.
Nippon-Keidanren insists in the "Okuda-vision" on following points: throwing 90% of workers into irregular and instable employment through dismantling life employment; decreasing wage up to "the same standard as in the developing countries"; dismantling of social security system such as pension system and health care, introducing principle of market mechanism and ideology of "self-responsibility"; further promoting of privatization and deregulation so that jungle law may prevail; striving to form "East Asia Free Economic Sphere" in order to survive the global competition; building up of military power and revision of constitution etc. In a word, Okuda-vision is full of imperialist ambitions.

4. We tackle these problems

Globalization of capital and its pursuit of profit have lead to starvation all over the world, to unemployment of billions of people, and to wars. The same things are coming about in Japan too.
Robbers like Koizumi and Okuda have spent huge amount of money from national treasury like water on rescuing finance capital and monopoly firms, while imposing a lot of sacrifices on workers. Now they have the accumulated deficit of $ 1,000 billion. The crisis of bankruptcy is looming. The only way out for them consists in the exclusive dominance of Chinese and Asian markets. That's why they have established emergency laws. That's why they are making efforts to pave the way for constitutional revision, preparing for an aggressive war on North Korea.

We are profoundly convinced that the unified power of Japanese, American, and Korean workers is sure to stop this war.
Our struggle still confronts lots of difficulties. But we are completely free from despair. Many workers are getting more and more angry at the traditional leadership of existing labor movements; they are also increasingly getting aware: "Without restoring unity of workers this reality isn't to change". So the new battle line, the new current of labor movement is just about coming into being.

The aggressive war on Iraq has created flood of struggles by workers and people all over the world, and American and Japanese ruling classes are dragged in quagmire. The fierce attacks against workers are, by this token, surely creating the unity and struggle of workers. We are confident that only the united struggle of workers can not only stop new wars but also smash the imperialist attack to deprive us of the right to live.
We know you are planning the Million Worker March on October 17, aiming at the independent mobilization of working people across America. We, Doro-Chiba, will support and endorse this great struggle full-heartedly. We are in keen sympathy with you. If the workers all over the world are successful in uniting new powers of labor movements, there is no doubt that they can create the new dimension of the history.
We, Doro-Chiba, are a small union. But in firm solidarity with locals 10 and 34 of ILWU, with all the workers of San Francisco and America; we pledge here that together with you we will continue to do our best to change the current situation of the Japanese labor movement and to shape our future with our own hands.

Thank you very much

The History of Doro-Chiba's Struggle

-National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba (Doro-Chiba)-

<Struggle before Doro-Chiba built>

February 1978 (Previous history)
Struggle to stop scabbing deputy engine drivers to check the rail track

The former body of Doro|Chiba is one of local organizations (Local Chiba) of National Railway Motive Power Union (NRMU) : founded under the name of Locomotive Workers Union in 1950, name changed in 1957.
That consists of train drivers and car engineers of both Chiba prefecture and shinkoiwa area of Tokyo. Our 600 members work in whole Chiba, a part of Tokyo including Tokyo station. Retired members constitute OB club. After Division and Privatization (D&P) of Japan National railways, company had kept down the recruiting of fresh persons. Even though they have restarted acceptance of new comers, they stopped them from joining us. Nevertheless we have got 30 and more new members after Privatization in 1987.

Not that militant Union at first we were, the series of so many struggles and train accidents such as anti Japan U.S. security treaty struggle in 1960, angers against railway accidents taking 320 lives in Mikawashima and Tsurumi areas in 1962 and 1963, anti rationalization battle against diminution of 50000 assistant train drivers, anti Vietnam war struggle, anti Japan U.S. security treaty revision fight and Okinawa struggle around 1970 and anti Productivity Raising Movement struggle which decreased workers as many as 60000 people during 2 years more, made us strong union. We got a lot of progress from that struggles building a firm basis for today.

Among them we want to underscore 2 important struggles.
First is to keep the safety of train operation with fighting the very dangerous situation caused by streamlining and employee reduction. A member was arrested in Funabashi station accident in 1972. We countercharged that by several strikes and slowdown (in order to trouble train diagram) claiming, "the accident is caused by ignorance of train safety with profit-oriented policy". Finally we stopped firing of the worker and protected him. Then "No struggle, No safety" has been our most important slogan.
Second is solidarity with Sanrizuka struggle (farmers battle against Narita Airport construction) which is Japan's biggest farmers fight and anti State Power struggle after WW‡U. We fought 100 days struggle rejecting Jet fuel transportation to Narita Airport going to be opened in 1977`78 among fierce oppressional attack to farmers, with a aim to maintain Labor and Peasant solidarity .

<New Doro-Chiba was born>

30 March 1979
Launch Rally of Doro-Chiba

Thus Local Chiba has become the most militant democratic local body among National Railway Motive Union reinforcing inner unity. On the other hand National Headquarters of NRMU has changed its fundamental posture later of 1970s.
In 1978 convention they proposed ‡@Abandoning strike tactic ‡ACanceling the solidarity with Sanrizuka struggle. Local Chiba opposed anti-labor, anti-democratic policies.
National Headquarters even had beaten our representative at the lobby of convention site to oppress the addressing of our representative.
After that the Headquarters suspended the right of execution and membership of all our executive members, expelling 4 members including chairperson. These made us to decide to leave NRMU and get to be independent as Doro-Chiba March 30 in 1979.

About 2 years since we tried to protect our unity from destroying attack by NRMU headquarters under allowance of Japan National Railway (NR) authority bringing so many members injured.
NR authority discharged our secretary general in Dec. 1979, the chief of organization bureau in May 1980. Furthermore in 1981, 4 executive members including vice chairperson were fired for strikes against Jet fuel transportation to Narita Airport and cut back of 60000 workers from March 2 to 6 in 1981.

<Struggle against Division and Privatization of NR>

17 November 1985
Stop the privatization and division of JNR!
Strike declaration at Hibiya Outside Music Hall

The most severe struggle among our history was fight against aggression with Division and Privatization of NR leaving 100 thousands workers misemployment.
Nakasone cabinet announced to divide and privatize JNR to start harsh aggression to destroy Unions in 1983. At that time 5 main Trade Unions ware in NR.
Biggest one KOKURO (National Railways Workers Union NRWU) reduced its member from 224 thousands to 44 thousands showing how intense that aggression was. Besides that 130 thousands were dismissed either.
Nakasone confessed the aim of Division and Privatization (D&P) was to crush the General Council of Trade Unions of Japan (SOHYO) national center of trade unions then. This indicates D&P was the national unfair labor practices to not only dismiss hundreds of thousands workers but also to dismantle the Japan's labor movement.

Responses to the aggression were divided among Unions of JNR. Opposition: Doro-Chiba, KOKURO, ZENDORO. Support: NRMU and TETSURO (Japan Railway Workers Union). Among them NRMU became a worst agent of provocateur. Those 2 unions promoting D&P pieced together to Japan Confederation of Railway Workers (JRU).
KOKURO, which opposed D&P, first couldn't set a firm struggle because of confused organization management. The executive leader, in 1986 convention, proposed a compromising policy, met a hail of criticizing and was forced to withdraw the policy 3 month later in provisional convention. However those disputes triggered a lot of members to drop out and organization went into splitting situation.

Nevertheless we fought first strike in Nov.1985 and second in Feb. 1986 arguing the struggle against D&P is a deadly battle which decides the future of all proletariat and labor movement with organizing discussion among members and family too.
These strikes made big wave around country. We think those strikes, have been able to uncover the dirty character of D&P hidden by mass media's intentional campaign posting it as socially disputed agenda for the first time. Such basic stance we built up as a sacrifice taking battle is absolutely needed to maintain members' solidarity from the aggression that claimed our surrender.
In those strikes government encircled our work place with 10000 riot police. With the authority discharging 20 members in first strike and 8 in second strike, that was accompanied by lawsuit requesting us as much as 300000, an unprecedented attack. In addition 12 workers was rejected to get seat in privatized new company Japan Railways (JR) in excuse of being suspended at those strikes. However we continued to fight successfully having many members to get into JR@maintaining solidification. The strikes were the only walkout to challenge the D&P.

< The Start of New Struggle in JR>

13 April 1989
Long-term strikes in waves.
Strike in Makuhari branch.

National Railways was divided to 7 privatized companies, 6 were district ones and 1 was cargo specialized. We started new struggle in JR with 4 subjects.
1) Withdrawal of the decision of discharged workers.
2) Battles against forcible workers transfer, scrapping work places of our stronghold and attacks to organization.
3) Battle opposing rationalization (lean system) and maintaining safety train operation that was put in crisis by the ultimate downsizing with desperate work place conditions.
4) Revival of workers movement that fights the reactional politic moves and militalization either, that were propelled during D&P aggression.

We began new battle against forcible conversion of work position that transferred train drivers to commissary stores or first food stands with making continual strikes. We walked off for 72 hours against scrapping of Katsuura operation yard which was our strong point in 1995, set up a permanent footing of strike to stop the Union destruction in advance after 1996, battled against abolition of Sakura machinery yard in 1997 and waged strike against abolition Narashio inspection and maintenance yard in December 2003. Struggle continues persistently like that.
In particular, we went into a strike for an indefinite period in February, 2004. This strike was started with the forced allocation attack of our union member who was near to retirement age, and finally we won the victory of getting back other union members to their working places. They were being allocated in the union busting attack of the JR company since the time of privatization.

We continue to fight as an anti rationalization struggle. Strikes began to protest at a time when one year's day of train accident robbing driver's life in Dec.1988 ;which was caused by illegal direction to ignore traffic signal to forefend diagram disorder, to struggle against stretch out of workload in 1991, against stretch out in every year's diagram revision, against outsourcing of train checking and repairing work with 2002`2004 strikes, slowdown action etc.
"Safety collapse" reaches a critical level and the track breaking accident occurs successively now in JR as a result of privatization, out-tasking and deregulation. So we decided a union policy to strengthen and rebuild our driving preservation struggle such as safety driving struggle in the 51st periodical committee on May 20, 2004.

As an anti-dismissal-struggle we have got a big gain in 1997 letting the authority to withdraw the discharge of 28 members who were fired in excuse of first and second strikes resisting D&P in 1985 and 1986 with tenacious struggle such as strikes from Jan. to March in 1990, mass protest actions, lawsuits to labor committee and legal court.
However JR East Company attacked us with blocking the Union office against strike during March 18 to 21 in 1990. We counter attacked this by running into strike earlier than designated time. They filed a lawsuit us claiming 180000 and more saying "It's illegal strike".
Now we have@carried over the protest calling for the withdrawal of dismissal of 1047 workers (consists of Doro-Chiba, NRWU, ZENDORO).

And then we put our efforts in reviving workers movement at the same time with encouraging struggles of anti war, militarization, destruction of the system of employment, wage, social welfare and workers rihgts.
Workers' biggest national center SOHYO was dismantled in 1989 ending to convert their stance to pro-government, capitalist side. We set up an organization by gathering activists over the country for resurrection of laborer movement and constituted Anti War Joint Action Committee when the series of wars were attempted commencing with the Gulf War in 1991. We formed the National Network of militant unions either calling on freshly mixed concrete workers Union of Kansai branch, and National metal machinery workers joint Union that have fought fundamental and militant workers movement.
This challenge developed into Japan / US / Korea international solidarity rally at 2004/11/09. We invited the representatives of ILWU local 34 and "Campaign Against Taft-Hartley, Repression and Privatization", UTU worker from America and KCTU Seoul Regional Council from Korea. This rally gave a big impact to the whole labor movement.

Peculiarly Iraq War of March 20, 2003 and urgent moves to ordain Emergency Law shocked us. On the other hand, we were encouraged with international hot wave of "Don't attack Iraq" movement.
We ran into 90-hour strike from March 27 to 30, 2003 appealing anti Iraq War, stop the Emergency law, stop changing labor laws for the worse; unstable employment and giving capitalists the right of free-dismissal.
Also in 2004 SHUNTO (annual spring offensive), we went on strike for 3 times and called for everyone with every effort to realize a big scale international peace action of 1 year after the outbreak of Iraqi war as a united action of workers beyond the border of National Center together with "The land / the sea / the sky / the harbor 20 labor union groups" and "Block the road to war! One Million Signature Campaign". As a result, we could realize a big united action for the first time since the time of dissolution of EX-SOHYO (General Council of Trade Unions of Japan) and formation of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) in 1989.

Now we are facing serious situation. War-related bills were enacted in 2003-2004 Diet and the enforcement of changing Constitution for the worse in 2005 is planned in political schedule. We are determined to strengthen our fight.

<New State of Struggle for Withdrawing Dismissal>

27 March 1997
All the 28 workers dismissed under Pubic Workers Act won their jobs back!
The 24th Doro-Chiba extra conferece.

Our 17-year-struggle for backing down discharges confronts new troublesome stage. Our partner KOKURO's executive has nearly convert its position giving up to difficulties with prolonged struggle.

The outset of moves come from government and LDP (ruling party Liberal Democratic Party). They instigate KOKURO executive to surrender promising to request JR company to set a talk table for resolving the dispute if KOKURO passes the decision admitting that JR is innocent on firing workers and withdraws a lawsuit in KOKURO convention. Then executive decided to accept this proposal ignoring fierce opposition in a convention.
Not only that, government and LDP even request KOKURO to expel the members to continue to fight. And executive took up that too.
In addition they sold members over police who appealed to keep up struggle and protest with giving tape-recorded videotape of a provisional convention May 27, 2002 as a tool of police oppression. Seven KOKURO members and one supporter (KOKURO 8) were arrested unfairly and they were kept in jail for 13 months long. But the movement of "Free them from unprecedented frame-up oppression by police" prevailed in Japan and finally they were released on December 22, 2003.

DORO-CHIBA considers that the struggle for withdrawing 1047 dismissal is not only an issue of DORO-CHIBA itself but also a crucial issue of labor movement in KOKURO and JR. We DORO-CHIBA insist that it is most important for the fired workers of 3 labor unions (DORO-CHIBA, KOKURO and ZENDORO) to call for a big united struggle disregarding the difference of their standing points to reform the present condition and to open up the prospects of victory.
On April 13, 2004, "Big rally to support the struggle in JR" was held. Members of 3 fired workers' groups gathered and stood on the same stage for the first time since this struggle began. All the metropolitan labor unions supporting this struggle got together. It was an epoch-making rally. This rally is our new starting point of struggle. We are determined to make this struggle for withdrawing 1047 dismissal an axis of concentration to revive labor movement.

July, 2004

DORO-CHIBA (DC): National Railway Motive Power Union of CHIBA
Email: doro-chiba@doro-chiba.org
Web: http://www.doro-chiba.org/

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