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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 April 23 - 29  > Toshiba promises to not continue discrimination of workers lasting over 40 years
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2008 April 23 - 29 TOP3 [LABOR]

Toshiba promises to not continue discrimination of workers lasting over 40 years

April 25, 2008
Toshiba Corporation on April 24 reached an agreement with 96 workers, who have been demanding that the electronics giant stop discriminating against workers who are Japanese Communist Party members and other social or political activists, and give them their due promotions and wage hikes.

The Tokyo-based major electronic company Toshiba Corporation on April 24 reached an agreement with 96 workers, who have been demanding that the electronics giant stop discriminating against workers who are Japanese Communist Party members and other social or political activists, and give them their due promotions and wage hikes.

In the landmark agreement, Toshiba promised to pay settlement money to the workers and take measures so that such discrimination will never take place again.

They are 12 workers, who have filed a complaint with the Labor Relations Commission demanding that the company stop improper practices, and 84 members of the Association to Establish a Toshiba without Discrimination in defense of human rights.

Toshiba agreed to take similar measures to be applied to all other active workers not only in Toshiba but also in its affiliates, to give equal opportunities for promotion; and to pay settlement money to affected workers, including those who have retired.

Toshiba’s anti-communist labor policy

In the 1960s, Toshiba launched an anti-communist labor management policy in order to get rid of workers who were struggling for better working conditions and wage increases. In Kanagawa Prefecture, the company employed former security police members to create a secret organization to carry out surveillance of activists, sometimes using paid informants.

The company was trying to eliminate JCP members and other activists from union leadership and key jobs, and exclude them from regular promotions and pay raises.

In 1995, however, they established an association to file a complaint with the Kanagawa Labor Relations Commission demanding the correction of Toshiba’s unfair labor practices.

Following the Kanagawa Labor Relations Commission, the Central Labor Relations Commission ordered Toshiba to stop the mistreatment of workers who are JCP members or other union activists, recognizing that the firm illegally intervened in union affairs.

Toshiba was forced to pay 500 million yen in back pay to workers at its Keihin factory (in Yokohama).

As regards its restructuring policy, Toshiba promised that there will be no temporary transfer of workers without workers’ consent.

Further struggle

Commenting on the settlement, Ishikawa Yojiro, the group’s chair, stated, “Toshiba’s discriminatory labor policy has adversely affected the firm’s capability to manufacture products. By making the best use of the settlement agreement that will benefit every worker an not just us, we’ll endeavor to eradicate discrimination in all places of work.”

In a joint statement issued on the same day, the group, lawyers, and the joint council in support of their struggle expressed approval of the settlement and demanded that all major corporations discontinue illegal labor practices that suppress workers’ freedom of thought.

“This is a major victory thanks to the workers’ unity, backed by the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) as well as its regional affiliates,” said the appeal.
- Akahata, April 25, 2008
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