In the face of rising unemployment and pay cuts due to corporate restructuring, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) will establish a hotline to provide counseling on labor issues and union organization.

Labor union membership is at 22.6 percent, yet another record-breaker in a string of all-time lows, according to the Labor Ministry. The hotline is part of a Rengo campaign to increase membership.

The hotline will begin accepting calls today. Calls are automatically connected to the appropriate local Rengo office, and will be answered by former labor leaders who have been appointed as advisers.

Rengo also plans to increase its organizational scope by conducting a campaign from May 25 through June 6 that will target 12 vital regions between Hokkaido and Fukuoka. In this campaign, Rengo will focus on independent labor unions in each member industry, and urge membership.

Past endeavors to increase membership has included the creation last year of Rengo Union Tokyo, which offers membership and guidance to the self-employed and has netted 700 members so far.

The hotline number is (0120) 154-052.

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