Vol.32-No.03 March 1,1993
Toyo Keizai Shimposha is a long established publishing house which has enjoyed a significant edge in investment-related publications such as Kaisha Shikiho, but has experienced luckluster corporate resultes amidst the faltering economy. Under these circumstances, labor unions forced President Nakajima out of his post. He had gone ahead with vigorous management expansion strategies, advancing into a totally new field by inaugurating an auto manazine. This led labor unions to rebel againist the "dictator". Those in management positions took advantage of labor's actions and tossed the boss out of office.
The story is the same at Tokyo Shoko Research, from which President Nishiyama was forced to resign in April 1992. Nishiyama set forth a plan to divide the Tokyo branch in hopes of strengthened business operations in the Tokyo area where the company has reported a big loss. The company had so far rarely seen a conspicuous labor-management confrontation. Labor, however, snaped at Nishiyama's forcible strategies, thus forcing him out of office.
The Mainichi Shimbun also tossed its boss Watanabe out in April 1992. Management said they "continued strenuous efforts to rebuild the firm," while on the other hand, labor contended that manegement tended to be "inner-directed without any promising future vision." Both sides remained split unit to the end. Furthermore, TBS pushed out President Tanaka who put profits first. Yamaha also tossed its Kawakami out of office. Labor had seen his negative management stance as dubious.
Chushorenkyo grew out of the discussions held in the summer of 1992 by the top leaders of Zenkinrengo, Kinzokukikai, Ippandomei and Zenkokuippan. They talked about the possibilities of strengthening the labor movement among workers at small-sized firms. They agreed on the need to create a council, which is, so to speak, the "IMF-JC" of smaller firms. The discussions led many industry-wide federations to join the new Council. "We dismissed participation of those smaller-scale unions which are already organized into large industry-wide federations under the banner of big companies," noted Secretary-General Imaizumi. Even so, 1.8 million workers at small firms joined the newly established Council, far greater than the 700,000 -1 million members which had originally been expected.
Under its agreement, the Council provides unions other than Rengo-affiliated ones with the possibilities of joining the Council. This is intended "to develop a movement fot incorporating unaffiliated smaller industry-wide federations into Rengo," says Imaizumi. The Council will study the following areas. First, solidarity and cooperation between member industry-wide federations on wage talks and improved working conditions. Second, local Rengo's activities with the centerpiece of activities for smaller unions in regions. Third, establishment of an experts' meeting on issues regarding smaller-scale unions and their workers. In its action policy, the Council said "Rengo is presently comprised largely of workers at large private firms and those engaged in public projects and therefore, workers with small-sized companies are unable to use their own will and power to develop the labor movement." Thus, they are appealing for the importance of the labor movement in which workers at smaller firms are the key players. Would-be members of Chushorenkyo include Zensendomei, Ippandomei, Kotsuroren, Gokaroren, Zenkokuippan, Insatsuroren, Kensetsurengo, Sen-inroren, Shin-unten and Zenzosenkikai. Also, Shokuhinrengo and Gomurengo plan to join the Council.
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