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35 workers call for 'forced retirement' to be invalidated

Thirty-five employees on outside duty (sales) at Tokyo Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. on February 2 filed a lawsuit against the nation's biggest non-life insurer with the Tokyo District Court, demanding that the disadvantageous modification of work rules be ruled invalid.

The plaintiffs argue, "According to the ruling established by the Supreme Court, it is illegal to change work regulations to the disadvantage of workers without rationality and need."

The company is planning to abolish the category of workers on "outside duty" for the sales of insurance policies and to virtually push about 900 field workers into retirement by forcing them to choose between quitting the company to become an insurer's agent or remaining with the company to be transferred to a different job.

If one chooses to quit and become an agent, the yearly income will decrease by 30 percent (about 2.25 million yen) on average. Even for many of those who choose to stay in the company, their salary will be reduced by 50-60 percent a year because of the wage system change.
- Akahata, February 3, 2006

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