Game maker Sega's workers pushed the company into removing "solitary
Workers of Sega Enterprises, Ltd., major amusement machine and software
maker, have won a struggle against the company's inhumane labor practice of
shutting workers up in a "solitary confinement room."
In an out-of-court agreement announced on September 17, the company
promised to stop using the isolation room and transfer the workers confined
in the room to other sections without lowering their previous working
conditions; provide a job to five workers who were forced to stay home for
about five months, and pay them the wages that they haven't received; and
withdraw a dismissal of a worker and announce that he left the company due
to company reasons.
All-Japan Metal and Information Machinery Workers' Union (JMIU) Sega
Branch Chair Fujiwara Koji said that they have succeeded in stopping the
outrageous labor practices of the company: transferring workers to its
affiliate company without the workers' consent, worsening their working
conditions, and refusing to engage in collective bargaining with workers.
As part of a mass restructuring started in May 1995, Sega has ordered
workers to resign or change to affiliate companies. The workers who refused
the order have been confined to a room with no work to do or ordered to stay
home for an indefinite period with their wages cut by 30 percent. Such
unfair dismissals and human rights violations have continued.
The Japanese Communist Party in the parliament has continuously
criticized Sega for its inhumane ways of pressuring workers to quit. Since
Akahata first reported on the "solitary confinement room," mass media have
carried out a critical campaign, calling it a "prison." As a result, Sega
had to abolish the room in September 1999.
But last April, Sega reopened the room to isolate twelve workers
(including two disabled workers) who refused to work for affiliate
At the time JCP Executive Committee Chair Shii Kazuo had talks with the
workers to encourage them and promised that the JCP will work in the Diet to
get such human rights violations ended. (end)