chapter
16 Pages

of factories

if their twin demands for jobs and production were to be met. Japan's workers did not arrive at their solution of production control overnight; instead they began their efforts in the more orthodox vein of trade unionism. Business Unionism and Workers' Control The response of workers and labor organizers to the new conditions began in

In midwinter all wage workers were driven to protect their jobs against the wave of dismissals and to increase production, but neither could be done by tactics like strikes or slowdowns when there was widespread retrenchment and mass unemployment. Employers were more than ready to meet the workers' challenge in that case simply by locking out strikers or closing down altogether. A strike could hurt only in the most essential industries and services like fuel or transportation, but here the real victims would not be the employers, but the public. Striking could only worsen the general economic situation and earn public hostility. Outside of big-business and government circles the need for production suffused the very atmosphere, and workers knew their personal survival was intimately tied to economic revival. In sum the sit-down by the zaibatsu had created conditions which required worker occupation and operation of factories if their twin demands for jobs and production were to be met. Japan's workers did not arrive at their solution of production control overnight; instead they began their efforts in the more orthodox vein of trade unionism.5