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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 March 26 - April 1  > Labor Minister says farming out flight attendants as ‘independent contractors’ could be considered subterfuge
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2008 March 26 - April 1 [LABOR]

Labor Minister says farming out flight attendants as ‘independent contractors’ could be considered subterfuge

March 28, 2008
Health, Labor, and Welfare Minister Masuzoe Yoichi said that legalizing the outsourcing of flight attendants, which the transportation ministry is planning, could amount to the same as independent contractors in disguise, in violation of the law.

Masuzoe gave this view on March 27 in response to a question by Japanese Communist Party representative Koike Akira at a meeting of the House of Councilors Committee on Health, Labor, and Welfare.

Citing the Aviation Law providing that the captain is authorized to command and order the crew, Koike said, “Outsourcing flight attendants, who are supposed to work under the captain’s command, to another company, will be tantamount to the use of ‘independent contractors in disguise’ which is prohibited by the Labor Dispatch Law.”

In case a company farms out certain jobs, those workers will come under the contractor company’s command and order. If the company outsourcing jobs gives orders to workers from a contractor company, it will be regarded as the use of “independent contractors” in violation of the Labor Dispatch Law.

Director of Employment Security Bureau Ota Toshiaki agreed with what Koike pointed out.

Koike said, “What the transportation ministry is trying to do is tantamount to encouraging airline companies to use ‘independent contractor in disguise’.”

Koike also emphasized, “The task of pilots and flight attendants is to ensure passengers’ safe air travel. If their jobs are outsourced, how can airlines ensure aviation safety? The Labor Ministry as the authority of labor administration should criticize the transportation ministry plan.”
- Akahata, March 28, 2008
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