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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 April 2 - 8  > Transportation ministry revises the guideline to restrict the outsourcing of cabin attendants
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2008 April 2 - 8 [LABOR]

Transportation ministry revises the guideline to restrict the outsourcing of cabin attendants

April 3, 2008
Prompted by a Japanese Communist Party representative’s questioning in the House of Councilors, the Transportation Ministry has overturned its initial plan to allow airlines to outsource flight attendants.

JCP member of the House of Councilors Koike Akira at a parliamentary committee meeting on March 27 pointed out that the outsourcing of flight attendants would conflict with the law to regulate the use of temporary workers.

Director of the First Standards Division of the Civil Aviation Bureau Takahashi Kazuhiro visited Koike Akira on April 2 to explain that the ministry has amended the guideline for airline operations by adding a provision that airlines must be in compliance with the Worker Dispatch Law and other related laws.

The official said this provision will be used to preclude the hiring of independent contractors as subterfuge to evade the relevant labor laws. “We will try to bring home to airline companies this provision,” he said.

Pointing out that the outsourcing of flight attendants is considered as using independent contractors in disguise, Koike made clear that airline companies should be prohibited from farming out their flight attendants’ jobs.

Takahashi said, “That is how the Labor Ministry understands the provision” and admitted that the revised guideline will make it impossible for airline companies to farm out their flight attendants’ jobs.

Koike said that the transportation ministry should fulfill its duty to guide airline companies by giving top priority to safety operations.

On March 27 at a meeting of the House of Councilors Committee on Health, Labor, and Welfare, Koike asked, “If a captain gives an order to flight attendants from a staffing company, those workers would be regarded as ‘independent contractors in disguise’. The transportation ministry’s guideline is tantamount to encouraging airline companies to use ‘independent contractors in disguise’.”

In response, Labor Minister Masuzoe Yoichi gave his view by stating, “The outsourcing of flight attendants under the Transportation Ministry’s guideline could amount to the same as independent contractors in disguise.”
- Akahata, April 3, 2008
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