Keiei Shigaku (Japan Business History Review)
Online ISSN : 1883-8995
Print ISSN : 0386-9113
ISSN-L : 0386-9113
Composition and Administration of Japanese National Railways Workplace Committee before 1945
The Reality of the Labor-Management Relations that subsumed into the JNR's Familism
Chaisung Lim
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2013 Volume 48 Issue 3 Pages 3_27-3_50


This paper examines the constitution of JNR Workplace Committee and its administration from the prewar to the wartime periods and analyzes the process and the reality of JNR labor movement that subsumed into the Familism. The Workplace Committee attempted to internalize the labor movement by letting the laborers display their dissatisfaction as well as the demand as a part of adaptation mechanism within the internal organization, sometimes offering the opportunities for fringe benefits and promotion. This was the reality of the labormanagement relations that subsumed into the JNR’s Familism. Even though the Workplace Committee functioned as the passage to obtain better working environment during the 1920s, in the 1930s, it became to be a defensive mechanism that dealt with delayed follow-ups for the issues brought up by the pay raise and the promotion. In the background of such transformation, there was the existence of the antagonistic labor union that pressured the authorities to consider the demand of the Workplace Committee, as well as the JNR’s economic foundation that enabled its realization. The adaptation of the Workplace Committee to the JNR system deepened in the 1930s and it transformed into ‘the Service Society’ during the wartime period. The price of “service” was the improvement of labor treatment and the stability of livelihood. The postwar JNR labor-management relations began on the basis of these factors.

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© 2013 Business History Society of Japan
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