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  • NUGW’s Louis Carlet on recent labor union moves

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on December 10th, 2008

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
    Hi Blog. I don’t usually post these notifications (which come near daily from one of Japan’s most active labor unions, the National Union of General Workers) here. But this one is meaty and timely enough to warrant everyone’s attention. Have a look and see if there’s anything here you’d like to check out. I fully support Louis Carlet and labor unions in Japan, and if you’re not in one, you’re not going to have your employment rights protected in Japan protected, full stop. More on why I can say that with such conviction here.

    Over to Louis. Arudou Debito in Sapporo


    From: nugw DOT carlet AT
    Subject: [Nambu FWC] Berlitz Sues Union Execs
    Date: December 9, 2008 4:52:57 PM JST
    To: action AT nambufwc DOT org

    Sisters and Brothers

    Three weeks after we sued Berlitz for illegal strike-breaking, management has sued two Nambu executives and all five Begunto execs for damages caused by what Berlitz claims is an illegal strike.
    Execs received subpoenas today to appear before court. Management prefers to pursue frivolous litigation rather than settle 2008 shunto demands for a 4.6% base-pay hike and a one-month bonus.

    Management hopes to intimidate and divide us, but we will stand together to fight these suits and protect our right to strike. Email me and ask what you can do to help our Begunto brothers and sisters.

    Meanwhile come to the following events.

    1 Little Garden Labor Commission Talks
    Friday Dec. 12 at 10:00am at Tokyo Labor Commission

    Take Oedo Line to Tochomae Station, Exit 3A, up two escalators, pass parsport office, up Elevator Bank H to 34th floor. Check bulletin board for Life Communications Corp and “roh” for room number.

    The union has Little Garden on the ropes. Not only has management agreed to reinstate Joyce and pay partial back wages, they have also agreed to help with her visa, pay a penalty if she doesn’t get the visa, to deduct her monthly dues from wages, to give us a union-only bulletin board and even to let the union hold annual recruiting orientations at Little Garden.
    Come and support Joyce during what may be final resolution talks. There has been a surprising new development in this case as well.

    2 Govt Talks on Foreigners’ Rights

    Monday, Dec. 15, 9am to 5:30pm. Upper House Bldg – Sangi-in Kaikan. Take Marunouchi Line to Kokkai-Gijidomae Station. Free simultaneous interpreting with machines provided.

    Ever want to speak your mind to the government? Now’s our chance. We will talk tough directly with the various ministries (actually mid-level bureaucrats) regarding abuse of the foreign trainee/intern system as well as fingerprinting, teacher’s labor rights, and many other issues that affect foreign residents.

    3 [Anonymous teacher’s] Second Court Date

    Thursday Dec. 18 at 10am. Tokyo District Court – Take Marunouchi Line to Kasumigaseki Station, Exit A1. TDC is right there. Go to 13th floor. Room number to be announced.

    As many of you know Anonymous Teacher’s first court date was anti-climactic because St. Mary’s management didn’t show up. They are unlikely to make that mistake again so come out and show AT your support.

    4 Berlitz Labor Commission

    Dec. 22 at 3:45pm at South Exit of JR Shinjuku Station


    Same day at 4:45pm at Tokyo Labor Commission

    Take Oedo Line to Tochomae Station, Exit 3A, up two escalators, pass parsport office, up Elevator Bank H to 34th floor. Check bulletin board for Berlitz Japan and “roh” for room number.

    Come on down to the first hearing in the now-famous Union vs. Berlitz strike-busting case.

    Berlitz claims our historic strike is illegal. We say Berlitz strike-busting is illegal … AND unconstitutional.

    Come support our heroic, striking sisters and brothers at Berlitz and watch the sparks fly (albeit in a subdued, orderly and courtroom like manner).
    The hearing at the commission starts just before 5pm but we may have an action near Shinjuku Station just prior so come to both.

    See You All There!

    Louis Carlet
    NUGW Tokyo Nambu

    Nambu 2008 Bonenkai/Oyster Bar
    2000 yen, Nambu HQ Shimbashi
    Thursday December 18 6:30pm-

    NUGW Tokyo Nambu – Nambu FWC

    5 Responses to “NUGW’s Louis Carlet on recent labor union moves”

    1. Greg Says:

      In Japan’s history employers learned that it was not difficult to make workers forget unionization by threatening dismissal with loyal employees being rewarded with permanent employment and wages based on seniority, such programms being carried out with encouragement from the Japanese government. Shunto “the spring offensive”, as started by the socialist union Sohyo, comes and goes without little notice, Japanese labour does not participate in national decision-making, Japanese unions strike during lunch breaks, [repetition deleted].

      All this so Japanese firms can increase investing abroad their large profits with the Japanese government leading the way, for the purpose of unlimited industrial expansion and increased market share.

      Sub-contracted workers area decisive factor in competitiveness of many of the large Japanese firms. Why would unions be welcome on this level or allowed to be effective?

      — Not sure I follow your conclusion after your evidence.

    2. adamw Says:


      sorry but can you provide a bit more background as to why this time its particularly meaty?
      am interested to read it ,but hard to understand and put this in context without a bit more info etc. thanks

      — “Meaty” in the sense of lots of things going on and events to check out and attend. Louis usually lets us know of things in real time, a day or two in advance, one by one. But this time, there’s enough advance notice of several events so people with an interest but busy schedules can perhaps make advance plans (including attending a bonenkai). The mere existence of this labor union in particular is something worth checking out (do so at their website). Now there are ways of doing it on the ground in a real-life situation. Is all. Debito

    3. adamw Says:

      thanks debito.
      i am interested in hearing more about their discussions with the government on foreigners this a regular thing?do the people they meet with act have any ability to affect policy?

      — Yes. Now go talk to them and find out more.

    4. Meatleg Says:

      Hello again Mr Debito,

      Thank you for the union support.
      If anyone is interested in item # 3 in the e-mail, you can can get more information at Genevieve’s website:

    5. anchan Says:

      I wish I could be in Japan to participate in this struggle. I wonder how the battles with Interac are faring.

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