The ITF unions Zenjiko Roren, Kotsu Roren and Shitetsu Soren organised the protest in Tokyo on 7 March to demonstrate their determination to fight the legitimisation of ride-sharing services, which they say will damage employment and safety.
Katsuji Taki, head of the ITF’s Tokyo office, and Mac Urata, ITF inland transport secretary, joined over 400 people at the event. Speakers also included members of the Japanese parliament and a representative of the taxi employers association.
The rally endorsed a statement expressing deep concerns about the government’s promotion of the ride-sharing economy as part of its growth strategy. Ride-sharing services are trying to enter rural areas which are experiencing depopulation and ageing communities, undermining efforts by local governments, transport operators and passengers to develop sustainable public transport.
A speaker from a party in Japan’s coalition government told the rally: “The minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism is also against ride-sharing. This is not a confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties; all of us are opposing the cabinet on this issue.”
Addressing the rally, Mac Urata described how the ITF was supporting workers and unions around the globe who were also fighting against Uber and its like – including in Argentina, Denmark and India and Qatar. He stressed that this business model, which uses 21st century technology but promotes 19th century working conditions, must stop.
The unions later submitted a petition with 135,200 signatures against ride-sharing to both houses of the Japanese parliament.