Labor laws have been eroded for years. The Diet and the Labor Policy Council of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare do not pay attention to actual situation workers face and not listen to their voices. Labor laws are amended to favor employers’ profits. The Abe administration has thrown away principles respected in the past years. Let’s push the government to abandon the bill to worsen the Worker Dispatching Act.
LET’S COMPEL GOVERNMENT TO CANCEL BILL TO WORSEN
The current Diet session is scheduled to approve a bill to worsen the Worker Dispatching Act. Simultaneously the Labor Policy Council studies how to exclude application of laws regulating working hours. In other words it seeks not to pay for overtime work. The panel will make a decision by the end of year. Furthermore, it examines how to discharge workers and deregulate working conditions for the specially designated industrial zones of the country to provide ‘employment guidelines’, disregarding judicial precedents.
In short, revision of the labor law is to change it to benefit employers as Prime Minister Abe Shinzo told: he said ‘to make a country where companies enjoy the best operational environment in the world’. The Worker Dispatching Act was approved in favor of employers amid harsh confrontation between the labor and the management in the Labor Policy Council. The government, using the majority of their seats in the Diet, forced enactment - a philosophy that they don’t care what may follow.
More Temporary Workers
The Worker Dispatching Act was implemented in 1987. Since then it has been revised several times for detriment of workers. Amendment this time is to destroy the very basis of the law: to eliminate ‘provisional and temporary’ conditions. The revisions are to remove restrictions of category of industries and allow constant replacement with dispatched workers every three years.
Dispatched workers cannot enjoy protective measures even under the current act: they are obliged to work, facing discriminations like unstable employment conditions, low wages and harassment at workplaces. If revised, employers may be allowed to replace regularly-employed workers and subcontractors with dispatched workers. A category may be established of ‘regularly-employed workers with a limited status’.
Separation of Wage from Working Hours
The management wants to separate working hours from wages and to avoid legal restrictions on working hours: to set up a wage system based on ‘outcomes’ instead of hours. That means concepts of overtime work, midnight labor and holidays may disappear.
What is important, however, is protection of health of workers and observation of agreements between the labor and the management. Employees work only for hours agreed upon with the employers. These rules cannot be discarded.
According to a survey, workers work for over 2300 hours a year. That means labor-management agreements do not regulate working habits. Due to long-time duties many workers suffer from mental disorders like depression, and sometimes they die of overwork. Realities are not reflected in the government’s debates.
On November 1 implemented was the Act to Prevent Deaths from Overwork (=Karoshi). The first task is to apply the law effectively to realities.
New Socialist Party Struggles with All Might
The Abe government attempts to worsen the labor law; it is to replace regular workers with non-regular workers and use women, the elderly and immigrant workers as cheap labor with unstable employment conditions.
Under the circumstances actions are being organized to oppose revision of the Worker Dispatching Act and deregulation of working hours. Labor organizations commit in joint actions to secure employment. Forty percent of workers are non-regular employees today. The first task for all the workers is to improve conditions of non-regular workers. Let’s struggle in the front of mass movements.
November 11, 2014