Petition to Reinstate Fired Japanese National Railways Workers
Fight Back Against Privatization, Outsourcing and Casualization Aimed at Union-Busting!
Urgent Appeal for Petition Campaign
Dear brothers and sisters struggling against the neoliberal offensive of privatization, outsourcing, casualization and union busting in the midst of the aggravating global economic crisis…
The National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba (Doro-Chiba) makes an urgent appeal at this crucial stage of Japanese railway workers’ struggle for the reinstatement of our 1,047 unjustly dismissed colleagues.
Let us remember that in the 1980s Ronald Reagan in the US and Margaret Thatcher in the UK, along with Yasuhiro Nakasone in Japan, forcibly implemented neoliberal policies which aimed to smash labor unions and destroy the rights of and unity among workers. This opened the gates to pushing the whole world into a society that prioritizes money above the lives of people.
In Japan, the division and privatization of the Japanese National Railways (JNR) triggered the neoliberal offensive. The Japanese government broke up JNR to build the “new” privatized companies of the Japan Railways Group (JR Group), and all employees were immediately fired. Then, after being screened, they were selectively and discriminatively re-employed by the new companies. During this period of reorganization, 200,000 out of 400,000 railway workers lost their jobs and 200 workers were driven to suicide.
Since the division and privatization of the JNR 26 years ago, outrageous firings, privatization and outsourcing in the particularly anti-labor style of JR have prevailed and been running rampant all over society. A huge number of workers have been turned into casual workers. Big corporations are now intensifying their exploitation of workers in blatant violation of labor law.
On the other hand, the established national trade union centers have toppled from the position of counterpart of capital to shameful collaborators in the imperialists’ attack on workers.
In these severe circumstances however, Doro-Chiba obtained – on July 29, 2012 – an historic ruling in the Tokyo District Court: the court admitted that the selective reemployment after screening of the employees of JNR had been conducted with the unfair objective of expelling members of the unions opposed to division and privatization and that, without screening, the fired union members would have been reemployed by the “newly founded” East Japan Railway Company. We are convinced that it was Doro-Chiba’s principled and unflinching struggle against the division and privatization of JNR that forced the court to finally make such a ruling after many years.
Nevertheless, the court only ordered meager damages instead of reinstatement of the plaintiffs, which is the core issue. It is an outright contradiction. Now that the court has ruled that JNR committed an unfair labor practice, immediate withdrawal of the firing and return to the original jobs should be ordered according to due process.
The issue is now before the Tokyo High Court. The judge apparently intends to make rapid progress and bring a reactionary decision. We face a showdown. It is evident that successfully gaining victory in this legal struggle would contribute much to the worldwide workers’ struggle against neoliberalism.
The Doro-Chiba-sponsored Nationwide Campaign Against the Division and Privatization of the National Railways is organizing a “Hundred-thousand Signature Campaign to demand a court decision ordering the withdrawal of the unjust mass dismissal of national railway workers” (see attached petition). This campaign has already developed rapidly and successfully, gaining support from a broad layer of people in Japan.
We earnestly ask that you endorse and support our campaign as an important link of international solidarity.
By Nationwide Movement of National Railway Struggle
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