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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 13 - 19  > 1 in 2 Sony workers are under 'discretionary' labor system and may technically be driven to work 23 hrs. a day
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2018 June 13 - 19 [LABOR]

1 in 2 Sony workers are under 'discretionary' labor system and may technically be driven to work 23 hrs. a day

June 13, 2018
One out of every two Sony workers have been forced to work under the "discretionary" labor system and may technically be driven to work up to 23 hours a day due to a labor-management overtime agreement.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Kurabayashi Akiko at a House Labor Committee meeting on June 12 revealed the true state of Sony workers who are said to be working long hours at their own "discretion".

Sony Corporation records seven hours and 45 minutes of work time on its workers working under the discretionary system as the number of hours they are "deemed" to have worked in one day. However, many have been forced to work 100 hours overtime a month, which is the government-set danger line for death from overwork (karoshi). What is more, a ceiling on overtime hours previously agreed upon between labor and management under Article 36 of the Labor Standards Act is 15 hours and 15 minutes per day. Adding this number of hours to the seven hours and 45 minutes, Sony workers will technically be forced to work for up to 23 hours a day.

JCP Kurabayashi said, "The number of hours the workers actually work is completely different from the pre-deemed working hours." Labor Minister Kato Katsunobu in response said, "We will direct Sony to correct the dissociation," but he avoided using the term "illegal".

Currently, a "work-style reform" bill is under Diet discussion. The bill sets an upper limit on overtime on a monthly basis and a daily basis. The monthly limit on overtime will be 100 hours, the so-called karoshi line.

JCP Kurabayashi demanded that the bill be scrapped as it invites karoshi, and said, "It is necessary to put a cap on daily and weekly overtime as well as to establish rules for adequate work intervals."

Past related articles:
> Ruling block bulldozes through ‘work-style reform’ package bill [May 26, 2018]
> Karoshi victims’ families angry at Abe gov’t for intending to steamroller through bills to weaken work hour rules [May 17, 2018]
> JCP will work to foil PM Abe’s pro-business ‘work-style reform’ scheme [April 8, 2018]
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