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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 25 - 31  > Zenroren calls for creating nationwide uniform minimum wage system by 2020
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2018 July 25 - 31 [LABOR]

Zenroren calls for creating nationwide uniform minimum wage system by 2020

July 27&29, 2018

The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) held its 29th Regular Convention for three days from July 26 in Tokyo. The annual conference adopted a two-year action program calling for a society where everyone can have a decent life with an eight-hour work day and the creation of a nationwide, across-the-board minimum wage system by 2020.

On the first day, Zenroren President Odagawa Yoshikazu in his opening speech stressed the need to continue the fight against the Abe administration’s labor deregulation policy following the introduction of the so-called “zero-overtime payment” system which excludes high-level professionals from work hour rules.

Odagawa cited a recommendation for an increase in this year’s minimum wages which the Labor Ministry Central Council on the Minimum Wage released on the previous day. The council proposed that the national average of minimum wages be increased by 26 yen to 874 yen. The Zenroren president said that the proposed amount of increase falls far short of eliminating poverty among workers. He emphasized the importance of stepping up Zenroren efforts to achieve a considerable hike in regional minimum wages and to establish a nationwide, across-the-board minimum wage system.

Odagawa noted that the number of signatures opposing Prime Minister Abe’s attempt to change the pacifist Article 9 of the Constitution exceeded 1.8 million. He called on Zenroren members to work to strengthen public opposition to constitutional revision and force PM Abe to give up his ambition to adversely revise the Constitution.

Stressing the need for a change in government in order to improve workers’ working conditions and livelihoods and to promote peace, Odagawa said that the unified efforts of opposition parties and concerned citizens are vital to bring about the downfall of the Abe government. “Let us work harder to promote the opposition parties-concerned citizens collaboration,” he added.

Along with other guest speakers, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira delivered a speech in solidarity.

Koike recalled the latest ordinary Diet session and pointed out that allied with concerned citizens, opposition parties tenaciously fought against the Abe government in the Diet. Touching on the House of Councilors election scheduled for 2019, Koike said, “We should use this election to drive the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties and their supplementary forces into a minority position in the Diet and put an end to the Abe administration. In this context, there is a growing expectation for Zenroren to work more closely with the opposition parties-citizens movements joint struggles.” Noting that Zenroren will mark the 30th anniversary of its founding in this November, Koike expressed his hope for a stronger Zenroren and a further development in the Zenroren movement.

On the final day, the Convention elected a new leadership led by re-elected Zenroren President Odagawa and new Secretary General Nomura Yukihiro.

Past related articles:
> Let's stop 'zero-overtime-payment' system from coming into force! [June 30, 2018]
> 13.5 million signatures opposing revision of Article 9 submitted to the Diet [June 8, 2018]
> Karoshi victims’ families angry at Abe gov’t for intending to steamroller through bills to weaken work hour rules [May 17, 2018]
> Minimum hourly wage of 1,500 yen needed to cover basic living needs: Zenroren survey [ June 23, 2017]
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