Local labor office urges IBM Japan to discuss with labor union about working conditions

The Kanagawa Prefectural Labor Relations Commission on November 7 issued a recommendation that IBM Japan, Ltd. sincerely negotiate with the labor union about working conditions after corporate separation.

IBM Corporation and Hitachi, Ltd. agreed last April to establish a joint venture for starting hard disk production by the end of 2002, which will later become Hitachi's wholly-owned subsidiary.

Under the agreement, IBM Japan will separate the hard disk division of its Fujisawa office in Kanagawa Prefecture as a new company, changing the affiliation of about 800 employees to the new company.

The IBM branch of the All-Japan Metal and Information Machinery Workers' Union (JMIU) is concerned that IBM Japan workers' working conditions could not be maintained in the joint venture company, and complained to the labor relations commission that IBM Japan management should conduct a thorough discussion with the union before the labor contract is taken over by the joint venture company.

The union leader appreciated the commission's recommendation, saying that it will greatly help change the management attitude toward the workers, which is at present refusing to answer workers' anxieties about possible wage cuts and worsened working conditions.

The union on November 7 applied for an injunction from the Yokohama District Court against IBM Japan, calling for maintenance of the position of workers in the labor contract after their transfer to the joint venture company.

The union said that it is very likely that the workers will suffer seriously from worsened working conditions after the transfer, so preventive steps should be taken beforehand. (end)