Workers today, especially young workers, are forced to work hard by employers, some of whose companies are called ‘a black corporation’. These companies are exploitative and working conditions are poor. Workers are obliged to work overtime as a rule and a large number of them are employed on the temporary basis and for low pay. The Abe government has lately decided on a policy that employers are allowed not to pay workers for overtime work. That will produce a larger number of Karo-si, or a death due to excessive work.
ENTIRE SOCIETY BECOMES LIKE BLACK CORPORATION
The Council for Industrial Competitiveness (President/Prime Minister Abe Shinzo) compiled a new growth strategy package June 16 and it was approved by the Cabinet June 24. A reform is proposed in the employment system in which wages should not base on working hours but on results. In other words a result-first evaluation will be introduced into the wage system. That means the government has declared to remove the current labor formula of 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week ensured by the Labor Standard Law.
Raison d’etre of Labor Unions
The government panel advised a rule not to pay for overwork work to those ‘whose duties are specific and skills are high’ and ‘whose salary exceeds at least 10 million Yen a year’. The Council suggests a kind of restriction, but if the rule is adopted, quite certainly workers in general will be subjected to sweatshop-type practices.
The government says the rule can be applied with consent of a worker, but relationship between an employer and an employee is evident. The former has overwhelming authority.
A system called ‘exemption of white-collar workers’ was rejected during the first round Abe government. It is a practice not to pay for overtime work to white-collar employees, and it had been requested by Keidanren, or the Japan Business Federation. The employers’ entity had proposed that it should be applied to those who earn 4 million Yen a year. And now, years later, the business sector emphasizes ‘to create a new formula for working hours’ with a slogan to ‘enable employees to work in the more diverse and flexible ways’. It is Hasegawa Yasuchika, Director of the Keizai Doyukai, or the Japan Committee for Economic Development, who advised the rule. A concept not to pay for overtime work is a long time wish for the business, which has awaited a chance.
It is odd and dishonest for the Council for Industrial Competitiveness, on which any representative from the labor is absent, to unilaterally decide on a system that may affect a great majority of the working population. Employers attempt to impose practices that may destroy and deprive the fundamental rights of workers in order to reinforce global competitiveness of the Japanese business. We, workers, would not accept the system. Trade unions have a critical task to struggle the government policy.
Work without Pay ? No!
What will happen if a rule is applied to the wage system, or a basis of results instead of working hours? Workers will be forced to work under the instructions of employer until his/her job produce certain results. A concept of overtime work is denied and a job is of a sub-contractor-type. He/she is not an employed worker. Black corporations may grow and prevail across the society.
Prime Minister Abe told during his stay in the United Kingdom early May that ‘Japan cannot grow without implementing the system’, referring to the rule of no-pay for overtime work.
A company will temporarily gain profits to grow, if it does not pay workers for overtime work. Any business, any economy or society, however, cannot flourish on the basis of dying and dead workers.
Sound development of corporations and economy lies in a society in which workers can work with security and can exert maximum capabilities. The government must build a society in which an identical wage is paid to an identical job and abolish routine of overtime work before it takes a policy not to pay for overtime work.
July 1, 2014