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Nihi criticizes Panasonic for forcing workers to quit jobs by ordering distant transfers

At the House of Councilors Audit Committee meeting on April 20, Japanese Communist Party representative Nihi Sohei urged the government to fulfill its responsibility to secure jobs by citing a case of a major electronics manufacturer's plan to compel workers to quit by asking them to work at its offices in distance locations.

Panasonic Corp. in February announced its plan to close 27 plants and eliminate 15,000 jobs under the pretext of "structural reform".

900 full-time workers at one Panasonic Factory in Tosu City in Saga Prefecture were forced to transfer to factories in Yamanashi Prefecture or Osaka and 850 full-time workers at factories in Tochigi and Niigata Prefectures will be relocated to another Panasonic factory in Tosu City.

Nihi said, "The Panasonic plan is virtually a job cut plan because Panasonic acknowledges that many workers are unable to accept the company's distant transfer order."

Although Labor Minister Masuzoe Yoichi said he is not in a position to comment on the case, he replied that employers should consider maintaining employment and care about employees' family situations.

Revealing that Panasonic has listed the names of workers who will be forced to quit, Nihi said that the company is denying workers' human dignity and said, "It is the government's responsibility to respond to the demands of workers in such a situation."

Masuzoe said, "The ministry will ask companies to fulfill their social responsibility."

- Akahata, April 21, 2009

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