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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 31 - February 6  >  Trade minister promises JCP Tamura not to allow JETRO to evade labor law
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2018 January 31 - February 6 [LABOR]

Trade minister promises JCP Tamura not to allow JETRO to evade labor law

February 2, 2018
Grilled by Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Tamura Tomoko, the Trade Minister on February 1 promised to instruct the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) to cancel its plan to dismiss fixed-term contract workers in order to evade labor laws.

On this day at a House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting, JCP Tamura brought up JETRO’s internal document which proposes that non-regular workers who work at the organization for more than five years be dismissed.

In response to Tamura, Trade Minister Seko Hiroshige declared that as the head of the government ministry which has jurisdiction over JETRO, he will have the organization retract that document.

The document in question was sent to managerial staff at JETRO in March 2017 by the general affairs department chief. It proclaimed the firing of contingent workers as a way to sidestep an obligation to offer them open-ended employment contracts under the revised Labor Contract Act. The law requires employers to convert non-regular workers who have been employed for five consecutive years into contract workers of indefinite duration.

At the end of 2017, of 373 non-regular workers at JETRO, 140 who are eligible to have their contracts converted into permanent contracts received dismissal notices.

JETRO’s move has met with criticism even from regular employees: some said that the management underestimates the important role of non-regular workers and one said, “JETRO headquarters doesn’t care about our concern that the dismissal plan would adversely affect daily operations.”

Following the Trade Minister’s response to the JCP lawmaker, JETRO on February 1 announced that it will withdraw the internal document proposal and offer open-ended contracts to non-regular workers if they pass the public recruiting process.

Fixed-term contract workers said that it is unacceptable for the government-funded entity to use tactics to escape legal responsibility and demanded that JETRO provide permanent positions to all eligible workers in line with the principle of the Labor Contract Law.

Past related article:
> JCP lawmakers to gov't: Don't allow employers to circumvent labor law [January 25, 2018]
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