The Abe government commits in the work style reform in which employers can ‘fire and hire workers at their disposal’. That means workers are a kind of an adjustment tool for management. The government is ready to present a bill, called ‘a bill relating to encouragement of the work style reform’. It is an odd mixture of eight kinds of draft bills on deregulation and enhancement of regulations.
RIGHT WAGE MEANS 8-HOUR WORK SUPPORTS WORKERS’ LIFE
The extraordinary session of the Diet is held from November 1 to December 9 for 39 days. It is estimated that it will be difficult to debate on the reform bill even though it is presented to the Diet session. But the bill will be in conflict in the coming ordinary session of 2018.
Lies on ‘reform’
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has engaged in undermining the labor-related laws in a prospect to lead the country to ‘a terrain where business activities should enjoy the best conditions’: he has insisted on the policy by using phrases like ‘rocky regulations’, ‘a resilient posture’ and ‘to destroy with an Abe’s drill’.
He has employed beautiful expressions: (1) revitalizing local economies, (2) all 100-million citizens are to be active, (3) a work-style reform and (4) revolution in training human resources.
The premier’s proposed reform began in September. But this means ‘to improve productivity by way of reduction of workers’. The term ‘reform’ is a nominal sign.
A panel, the Work Styles Reform Implementation Council, headed by Premier himself, sets norms, under the name of ‘equal pay for equal work’, to approve inequality in the basic wages. It admits an overwork rule, in the name of ‘correction of the long-hour work practice’, which allows a maximum of 100 hours a month though the council imposes penalty.
In addition, ‘a daily-interval regulation rule’, a key policy of the premier, is undermined: the government excuses that due to ‘lack of workforce and burden of human costs’ its goal is reduced to a target to be attained. Attention is absent in the sectors of construction, transport and research & development. Only employers can enjoy benefits.
The Council held ten meetings during the period from September 27 last year to March 28 this year to produce a plan, called the Implementation Plan of Work Style Reform, which has 12 agenda.
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor has drafted seven bills on the basis of the plan. A controversial bill, the so-called zero-payment for overwork bill, was presented two years ago for parliamentary debate, but to today no discussions have been made. The Ministry wants to incorporate their drafts into the government’s package to be raised to the Diet session in combination of the above-said bill.
However, three rules provided in the package, namely, an overwork zero-payment system, a regulation on the maximum overwork hours and a practice of equal pay for equal job, are in contradiction in terms of objectives and workers to be covered.
The zero-payment scheme is completely opposite to the rule setting the upper limit of overwork. A rule of equal pay for equal job aims to eliminate gaps between the regular and irregular workers. Its essence is different from the two rules on overwork hours. Contradictions and heterogeneity are mixed in the government’s package. The government wants to shorten time of debates and to neutralize criticisms on the rule on overwork hours.
The NSP cannot accept the arrogant and violent measures of the Abe government which disdains the working population.
A right solution is to prevent the bills from being presented to the Diet. Let’s unite strength of workers with the opposite parties.
A true reform lies in implementing the 8-hour work practice specified in the Labor Standard Law which assures workers to support a life accordingly.
November 14, 2017