May 25th Mini-Koudou Demos

Rain or shine, Nambu members turn out when called, and more than 20 people participated throughout the day in the Mini-Koudou demos last Friday, May 25.

Action began with a multi-union demo in Kasumigaseki. Hundreds of unionists surrounded the Ministry buildings in support of dismissed JR workers who have been fighting for decades. Listening to the speakers, some of whom were on a hunger strike, suddenly the rain didn’t seem worth compaining about.

A highlight of the day was a visit to the offices of Universal Language Institute (ULI) where we declared a new branch. Management were more than a little surprised to find their office suddenly filled with a dozen union members, and demanded that we leave. Nambu President Hiraga refused, and insisted that ULI recognize the union and commit to negotiations with the new branch. After some debate, ULI management realized that it made more sense to recognize the union than to have a dozen activists occupying its offices and chatting about working conditions with other ULI staff, who in fact seemed to enjoy the diversion.

Later in the day, we returned again to the infamous [three lettered college in Shinjuku], where management has been trying to crush the union for two years now. Managers stood by scowling as students took our leaflets to read during their break. As for the non-union teachers who walked by the picket line, one of our members said it best by quoting Edmund Burke: “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.”

Union-busting problems at a Berlitz franchise in Sapporo were brought home to Berlitz HQ in Aoyama, as leafletters informed passers-by about unfair labour practices going on under the Berlitz name. Demonstrations were also held in front of ELS, the Berlitz-affiliated company in Shinjuku that runs the Sapporo franchise. This demo was well-timed, just as ELS students and teachers were leaving the building, and all were curious to hear about what was happening up north.

By coordinating action, and working together to resolve disputes at other workplaces as well as our own, wemultiply our strength and solidarity. Watch for more Mini-Koudou in the future!