Kobe Steel promises to quit discriminating against union members

After 40 years of struggle for constitutional rights to be established in the workplace, 12 Kobe Steel workers won a victory when the company promised to end its discrimination against union members in wages and promotions.

On June 26 at the Hyogo Prefectural Labor Relations Commission, the management of Kobe Steel, the nation's leading steelmaker, and the plaintiff employees reached an agreement stating that the company will abide by the Japanese Constitution, labor laws, and the corporate ethical code.

The agreement says that the company will respect the basic human rights guaranteed by the Constitution for every employee, making clear that the plaintiffs will be treated equally and evaluated fairly, as any other employee is.

The company also promised to pay a settlement payment, which means an overall victory for the employees who filed the complaints with the prefectural commission in 1992.

Kobe Steel for four decades has continued human right violations against union activists through shadowing, surveillance, pressure on workers into leaving the union, and isolating them from the rest of the employees. The wage discrimination against them caused an employee a loss of more than two million yen (nearly 20,000 US dollars) a year. (end)