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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 30 - June 5  > Toyota subcontractors paid Vietnamese trainees much less than minimum wage
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2007 May 30 - June 5 [LABOR]

Toyota subcontractors paid Vietnamese trainees much less than minimum wage

June 1, 2007
At the May 31 House of Councilors Labor Committee meeting, Japanese Communist Party representative Koike Akira urged the government to take measures to assist about 200 Vietnamese trainees who had been forced to work at Toyota Motors-affiliated companies with payments much less than the minimum wage.

A cooperative in Toyota City (Aichi Pref.), made up of 23 Toyota subcontractors, was recently instructed by the local Labor Standards Inspection Office to redress its violation of regulations on the minimum wage and overtime wages.

The cooperative was also ordered by the Nagoya Immigration Bureau to send the trainees back to their home country and stop receiving new foreign trainees.

Those companies took away the foreign trainees’ passports. They paid only 300 yen an hour, less than half the minimum wage, deducted 15 yen per minute for bathroom breaks, and forcibly collected 10,000 yen a month as “savings” from the less-than-60,000 yen wage.

Stressing that it is unfair for the trainees to have to discontinue their training and go home due to their host organization’s illegal labor practices, Koike demanded that the host organization and the government take necessary measures to deal with the issue.

Labor Minister Yanagisawa Hakuo agreed that those foreign trainees should not be held responsible for the matter, and said, “We will consider measures for them to be able to continue with the training.”

In the background of subcontractors’ illegal use of foreign trainees is Toyota’s intense pressure on them to reduce the unit price. Between 2000 and 2006, Toyota reduced the unit price by 30 percent. While making a record profit of 2 trillion yen in the 2006 business year, it is pressing ahead with a plan to further reduce the unit price by 15 percent.    - Akahata, June 1, 2007
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