TITLE

Better Working Conditions Won by ‘Nurse Wave’ Action: Japanese nurses’ experience of getting a new law by their militant campaign

AUTHOR(S)
Katsuragi, S.
PUB. DATE
July 1997
SOURCE
Nursing Ethics;Jul97, Vol. 4 Issue 4, p313
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Japanese nurses, like their counterparts in many other countries, are suffering from staff shortages and severe working conditions. The Japan Federation of Medical Workers’ Unions (Nihon Iroren) launched a campaign in 1989 for nurses called the ‘Nurse Wave’. Their demands were many: to increase the numbers of nursing staff, the regulation of night shifts, the implementation of a five-day working week everywhere, a fair appraisal of nurses’ work, better vocational training, etc. Nurses in white uniforms assembled at meetings, marched and took part in nationwide strikes. They collected over 5.4 million petition signatures, which they submitted to Parliament. After three years of campaigning, they won the enactment of a law for securing sufficient numbers of nursing personnel. This struggle, which highlighted the most pressing demands of nurses and was supported by the general public, was a new experience for Japanese nurses. It was a militant movement which demanded that the Government should change its health policy. Against the sluggish image of the Japanese labour movement, strikes and demonstrations organized by nurses dressed in white have made a strong impression on the Japanese people. As health care is a public service on which the life and death of people depend, a strike at a health institution naturally has constraints and must follow specific procedures. In this article, the measures taken by Nihon Iroren to minimize the consequences of strikes on patients and the local community, the impact of the nurses’ movement on the society, as well as the lessons drawn from the campaign, are presented.
ACCESSION #
7392863

 

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