A delegation of six Nambu members joined approximately 50 Zentoitsu union members at a series of demos in eastern Tokyo this morning.
First stop was Sunrise, a small company that manufactures helmets, using trainees from China as a source of labour. The trainee/internship system has been in the news a lot
recently, due to abuses by companies who, instead of training the interns, force them to work long hours for less than minimum wage, with none of the benefits guaranteed to employees under Labour Standards Law. In this case, five Chinese women who made a claim for unpaid wages were forcibly taken to Narita and put on a plane to China. Those who resisted were beaten. Today, union activists expressed their outrage to the owner of Sunrise, who found himself surrounded by angry protestors on the doorstep of his office, in full view of all the neighbours. The demonstration was very loud and tense, but very well-organized. The police at the nearby koban observed from a safe distance, clearly not wishing to get involved in that.
From there, we moved by hired bus (more excellent organization) to Adachi-ku, where we demonstrated in front of Yanagawa-Kogyo, a company which, among other things,
rents construction cranes, one of which was parked in the front lot. Protestors made their way around the construction material to the verandah of the home office, and chanted slogans through the open door, where the owner stood watching. This company dismissed a union member who had insisted on taking his legally-owed number of paid vacation days to deal with back pain brought on by the working conditions.
Coming out to these demos is a great way to build solidarity with our sister union Zentoitsu, and to learn about the conditions faced by other workers in Japan. Watch this space for information about future action.