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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 February 29 - March 6  > Public workers’ wages to be cut by 7.8%
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2012 February 29 - March 6 TOP3 [LABOR]

Public workers’ wages to be cut by 7.8%

February 29 & March 1, 2012
The House of Councilors enacted bills to cut national government workers’ wages at its plenary session on February 29 by majority vote. The Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party voted against the bills submitted jointly by the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties.

An average 0.23% cut as recommended by the National Personnel Authority will take effect retroactively from April of last year, and another 7.8% on average will be cut from this fiscal year.

At an Upper House General Affairs Committee meeting held on the day before, JCP member Yamashita Yoshiki opposed the bill arguing that what the Diet should do now is fully restore the fundamental labor rights of national government workers.

Yamashita pointed out, “It is in violation of the Constitution for legislators, who have nothing to do with labor bargaining, to meddle in national government workers’ wages while refusing to restore their basic labor rights.”

Yamashita also stated that the national government is abandoning its responsibility as an employer if it allows the legislator-initiated bills to worsen government workers’ working conditions.

Yamashita said that the wage cuts will affect 6,258,000 public sector workers, provoking further wage cuts in the private sector, and criticized the wage cut bills for causing negative impacts on domestic demand.

Miyagaki Tadashi, president of the Federation of National Public Service Employees’ Unions (Kokko-roren), appeared at a hearing before the committee meeting and said that the number of national government workers decreased to about 300,000 from 800,000 over the past decade, with the exception of Self-Defense Forces personnel. In the meantime, Miyagaki pointed out, government debts skyrocketed to 726 trillion yen from 525 trillion yen during the same period of time.

He said that with their wages continuing to fall, it is obvious that labor costs are not causing the country’s budget deficits.

Depriving government workers of their rights to strike and engage in collective bargaining, ignoring unions’ opinions, ignoring the National Personnel Authority’s recommendations, and endorsing the legislator-initiated wage cut bills amount to an infringement of the fundamental human rights of national government workers, Miyagaki stated.

He pointed out that public sector workers are workers who are entitled to basic labor rights, and demanded that the freedom of their political activities be guaranteed as legitimate civil rights and that the right to perform their duties as servants of all citizens be guaranteed.

Based on the Constitution, public sector workers with basic labor rights should be able to negotiate wages in talks with the government, Miyagaki concluded.

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