22 workers sue NTT

Twenty-two workers of telecommunication giant NTT have filed lawsuits against two NTT group companies claiming that the forced transfer of employees to affiliated companies at lower wages is in violation of the Labor Standards Law and the family care-related law.

They are demanding that NTT East and NTT West retract the transfer orders and compensate for the damages they have suffered.

The lawsuits were filed on September 25 simultaneously in five district courts: Tokyo, Sapporo, Shizuoka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka.

The NTT group is now pushing ahead with large-scale restructuring that involves a 110,000 cut in its workforce. Under the plan, workers 51 and older are forced to agree to early retirement. Those workers who accept early retirement would be hired by out-sourcing subsidiaries at 30 percent lower wages.

When the 22 workers rejected the NTT group companies' offer of an early retirement plan, they were told to move to distant offices, apparently in an act of harassment. Some of the plaintiffs are in the middle of child-raising, others are taking care of sick or elderly parents, or giving family members nursing care.

The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) and Telecommunication Industry Workers' Union have issued a joint statement denouncing the NTT companies for abusing workers in the name of restructuring.

The statement says that this lawsuit is to urge the large company to take corporate social responsibilities and end the storm of corporate restructuring.

The statement pointed out that NTT has introduced a de facto 50-year-old retirement system to deliberately hold down wages for employees 51 and older in disregard of labor laws. (end)