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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 December 10 - 16  > JCP representative in Diet exposes Mazda’s illegal labor practices regarding use of temporary workers
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2008 December 10 - 16 [LABOR]

JCP representative in Diet exposes Mazda’s illegal labor practices regarding use of temporary workers

December 16, 2008
At the House of Councilors Audit Committee meeting on December 15, Japanese Communist Party representative Nihi Sohei exposed one of Japan’s major automaker Mazda’s illegal labor practices regarding temporary workers. He based his argument on a report from Mazda workers’ and Mazda’s “company manual on temporary employment.”

Nihi said that at Mazda, temporary workers are classified into four ranks as C, B, A, and S based on their performance evaluation by Mazda’s regular employees. Mazda has used the classification system to determine temporary workers’ wages, duration of contracts, and promotions to full-time positions. Nihi pointed out that temporary workers’ working conditions should be determined by staffing agencies that send them to Mazda.

Responding to Nihi’s question, Labor Minister Masuzoe Yoichi said, “If a company that uses temporary workers determines their wages and other working conditions, it is a violation of Article 44 of the Employment Security Law.”

Nihi also revealed Mazda’s tricky method of evading the Worker Dispatch Law to use temporary workers for longer than the three years permitted by law. Using the Labor Ministry directive that allows employers to employ the same temporary worker again after an interval of more than three months, Mazda shifted temporary workers between “support worker (fixed-term contract worker)” and temporary worker one after another with an interval of three months and a day.

Nihi said, “Mazda’s labor practices are illegal and unacceptable.”

Masuzoe replied, “If a company intends to use a temporary worker after directly hiring the same worker for three months and a day, it would also be in violation of Article 44 (of the Employment Security Law).”

Nihi pointed out that Mazda is dismissing a large number of temporary workers who legally should be promoted to full-time positions. He said these are illegal labor practices and added that the automaker is doing this under the pretext that “even Toyota is cutting temporary jobs.”

Nihi stressed, “Such arrogance is unacceptable. Regarding companies’ clear violations of the law, the Labor Ministry shouldn’t make requests but should give each company directives demanding cancellation or withdrawal of temporary job reduction plans.”

While refusing to disclose individual responses, Prime Minister Aso Taro replied, “The government is also worrying about the current situation and should consider taking appropriate measures.”
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