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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 March 13 - 19  > Court acknowledges Mazda’s use of temporary workers as illegal
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2013 March 13 - 19 TOP3 [LABOR]

Court acknowledges Mazda’s use of temporary workers as illegal

March 14, 2013
The Yamaguchi District Court on March 13 acknowledged that 13 former temporary workers of Mazda Motor Co. have full-time employment status at the company, judging the automaker’s use of temporary workers to be illegal.

The lawsuit was filed on April 30, 2009 by 15 former temporary workers at the Mazda Hofu plant (Hofu City, Yamaguchi Prefecture), claiming that Mazda should accept them as full-time employees. Some worked six months while others worked more than five years at the plant. Mazda fired them all between 2008 and 2009 saying that Mazda’s contracts with their staffing agency expired.

The Worker Dispatch Law states that if a company uses an agency worker for more than three years, the company is required to offer a full-time position to the worker.

In order to make the temps’ contract period no longer than three years to evade the legal limit, Mazda gave them direct employment status as “support employees” for a certain period and then redesignated them as temporary workers.

The court judged that this labor practice was clearly based on the automaker’s intent to use temporary staff as substitutes for permanent staff and violates the law. It recognized regular employee status for 13 out of 15 plaintiffs who had been designated as “support employees”.

After the court ruling, Uchiyama Shingo, head of the plaintiffs’ lawyers group, said, “This is an epoch-making court judgment in that it fully awards the demands of the plaintiffs.”

The plaintiffs and the lawyers groups pointed out, “This is a big step toward changing the unstable conditions of contingent workers and will be of a great support in improving the law on the use of agency workers.”

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo in 2009 in the Diet took up the issue related to the Mazda’s deceptive “support employees” tactic.

Related past articles:
> Labour bureau instructs Mazda to end illegal use of temporary workers [June 5, 2009]
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