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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 June 12 - 18  > Unionized medical workers file lawsuit against unilateral cuts in special work allowances
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2019 June 12 - 18 [LABOR]

Unionized medical workers file lawsuit against unilateral cuts in special work allowances

June 18, 2019

Seven members of the Japan National Hospital Workers' Union (JNHWU/ZEN-IRO) on June 17 filed with the Tokyo District Court Tachikawa Branch a lawsuit against the National Center Hospital of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCHNP), seeking the continuation of payment of special work allowances.

NCHNP provides medical care to patients with muscular dystrophy, neurological disease, or psychiatric disorder, such as severe motor and intellectual disabilities. It also gives treatment to people who are involuntary hospitalized by the courts for criminal acts.

The institution had paid special work allowances ranging from 12,500 yen a month to 30,200 yen a month to 295 workers on these inpatients’ wards based on their job categories and job duties.

In January 2018, the NCHNP administration suddenly notified the ZEN-IRO local of a revision of the current work rules which aims to abolish special work allowances. Two months later, the hospital authorities, without obtaining consent from the union, announced that the payment of allowances will be terminated in stages for the next five years from 2018.

One of the seven plaintiffs, ZEN-IRO local head Tamura Noriko works as a nurse on a psychiatric ward for involuntarily hospitalized patients. Her job duties include accompanying these inpatients for their rehabilitation outside the hospital.

At a press conference after the filing in the Labor Ministry office building, Tamura pointed out that NCHNP’s plan to abolish special work allowances would have considerable impact on working conditions of workers at national hospitals. She expressed her determination to work hard to achieve a court order to continue the allowance payment.
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