Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 July 23 - 29  > Mizuho bank employee with help from union wins promotion
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2014 July 23 - 29 [LABOR]

Mizuho bank employee with help from union wins promotion

July 23 & 24, 2014
In Japan, the proportion of female workers in managerial positions stood at 11.6%, according to the 2012 data released by the Internal Affairs Ministry. The UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women has recommended that Japan increase the ratio of women in parliament as well as in corporate management positions. Under this circumstance, with help from a union, a female worker at Mizuho Bank Ltd., one of Japan’s mega banks, won a promotion to a managerial position.

Recollecting her struggle, 58-year-old Nitta Midori said, “I had to overcome many hurdles.”

The first hurdle was the two-track employment system that includes a fast track career path for management and a slow track career path for routine, clerical work. The 2010 survey results published by the Labor Ministry showed that 49.2% of corporations with more than 5,000 employees adopted this system.

When Mizuho introduced the system in 1986, Nitta expressed her hope to take the fast track career path. In the bank, for women workers on the slow track career path, it is almost impossible to reach a wage level higher than that of 25-year-old men during their career until the company-set retirement age.

Nitta took the company examination in order to change her career path to the career-track position many times since the introduction of the system. In 2002, she finally passed the exam, but was unable to obtain promotion. When Nitta urged her boss to give her a higher position in accordance with the bank’s positive action program for gender equality, the boss said, “It is not possible for low ability workers to apply for the program.”

Here, she hit the second hurdle. In July 2012, Nitta joined a union for individual workers at various types of financial institutions, and began conducting collective negotiations with the bank.

During negotiations with Mizuho, the union referred to the Labor Ministry’s guidelines for the elimination of the gender wage gap, and demanded data regarding the ratio of women workers in managerial positions and the gender-based wage gap at the bank. The mega bank denied the union’s demand claiming that the guidelines have no binding force.

With help from her union, Nitta has tenaciously struggled against the bank’s discriminatory treatment. Early this month, she successfully moved to an assistant manager position.

Nitta said, “In order to eliminate gender discrimination, women have to stand up. I’ll work hand in hand with all women workers in the bank for a gender equal workplace.”

> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved