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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 March 7 - 13  > Even with 16-hour work days, dump truck drivers earn less than minimum wage level
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2007 March 7 - 13 [LABOR]

Even with 16-hour work days, dump truck drivers earn less than minimum wage level

March 13, 2007
Dump truck drivers are forced to overload their trucks with crushed stone because the amount they may charge for legal weights remains below the minimum wage level, Japanese Communist Party House of Councilors member Yoshikawa Haruko revealed at a Budget Committee meeting on March 12.

Citing an example of a driver transporting crushed stone from Tochigi Prefecture to a ready-mixed concrete plant in Tokyo, Yoshikawa demanded that the government conduct fact-finding surveys and enforce an appropriate unit price for legal loads so that drivers can receive enough money to make a living.

This dump truck driver, according to Yoshikawa, gets up at 0:30 a.m. every day with 4.5 hours sleep and works for 16 hours until 5:00 p.m. He even eats his lunch while driving. Despite this, he receives only 96,976 yen a month, less than the minimum wage of about 100,000 yen.

Although he works exclusively for a particular crushed-stone company, it treats him as a self-employed driver without workers’ rights, making him hesitate to ask for an increase in the unit price.

Pointing out that behind this is companies’ imposition of cost-cutting measures, Yoshikawa argued that imposing unfair prices by companies in the predominant position violates the Fair Trade Commission’s regulations, and emphasized the need to apply the principle of the minimum wage law to dump truck drivers.

Land, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Fuyushiba Tetsuzo responded, “I’ll take your request seriously.”
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