Antagonism between Japan's conservative government and the powerful leftwing Council of Public Employees (Korokoyo) deepened on Monday (1 December) after Prime Minister Takeo Miki deferred a decision on whether to give them the legal right to strike, withdrawn 27 years ago.
GV INT. Prime Minister Miki enters room for news conference.
SV Newsmen and members of cabinet.(2 shots)
LV AND GV Miki addressing members of Press. (2 shots)
SV Demonstrators scuffling with Police outside Prime Minister's home.
SV Demonstrators sitting on ground and chanting.
GV Police speaking to crowd over loudhailer.
SV Demonstrators link arms and scuffle with police.
GV Members of House of Representatives clapping, PAN TO demonstrators clapping.
CU ZOOM OUT House of Representatives members joining in with demonstrators.
Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Miki told a news conference at his home on Monday that his government had deferred the question of whether to give the right to strike to public worker until it studied the matter further. He said his government would not bow to pressure exerted by public workers. The Prime Minister's announcement came on the sixth day of the nationwide walkout by transport workers who immediately said they would remain off their jobs as planned for another four days.
As Mr. Miki held his news conference, a number of demonstrators scuffled with police outside his home. They were all members of the 900 thousand strong leftwing Council of Public Employees.
Virtually everyone in Japan is estimated to have been hit so far by the nationwide transport workers strike. A strike by postal workers has also brought further hardships on the population, with a backlog of 37 million pieces of mail.
The stoppages were called to underline demands by public employees for the right to strike, withdrawn 27 years ago. The unions have threatened another walkout later this month if their demands are not met. The government has invoked emergency transportation measures mobilising private road haulers to transport food throughout the country.
From the Prime Minister's house, the demonstrators headed for Parliament building. They were cheered by several members of the House of Representatives sympathetic to their cause.
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Background: Antagonism between Japan's conservative government and the powerful leftwing Council of Public Employees (Korokoyo) deepened on Monday (1 December) after Prime Minister Takeo Miki deferred a decision on whether to give them the legal right to strike, withdrawn 27 years ago.
The Prime Minister told a news conference the government could not capitulate in the face of an illegal strike by transport workers already in its sixth day.
Minutes afterwards, the 860 thousand strong Council announced it would continue the stoppage for another four days.
Virtually the whole population of Japan is estimated to have been hit by the nationwide strike by two militant unions of the national railways.
As the Prime Minister held his news conference, about five thousand union members demonstrated outside his house in support of the strike.
Private railways, buses and the underground in Tokyo were packed from early morning as commuters struggled to and from work.
There were huge queues for private railway trains in the rush hour and at least 20 people were injured at stations or in trains jammed to three times their normal capacity. It took some people five hours to get to work.
Deferring the decision whether to grant public workers the right to strike, Prime Minister Miki said it was necessary to keep a balance between the basic right of labour, guaranteed by the constitution, and the public interest.
He promised that the government would review the laws banning strikes by public employees and draw a conclusion from a thorough study of them as soon as possible.