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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 June 29 - July 5  > Union workers stop welfare facility operator delaying regular wage hikes
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2016 June 29 - July 5 [LABOR]

Union workers stop welfare facility operator delaying regular wage hikes

July 1, 2016
Welfare workers who had sued their employer for delaying their pay raises because of the use of a parental shortened work-hour system reached a settlement in June in the Tokyo High Court.

The plaintiffs are three women working at a facility for severely disabled children in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward. They are also members of a local of the Tokyo Federation of Medical Workers’ Unions. They obtained pay hikes in the court-mediated settlement.

In accordance with the revised Child and Family Care Leave Law, the social welfare corporation operating the facility introduced a short working-hour system in April 2010. In response to the employees’ application, the company shortened their regular eight-hour workday by two hours.

One day, however, those workers noticed that their periodic pay raises were put off, along with the wage cuts due to the reduced working hours. When they asked for an explanation, the company did not give any clear response.

Article 23 of the law bans employers from treating workers unfairly who use the short working hour system in order to care for small children.

The three women requested mediation by the Tokyo Labor Bureau. The bureau denounced the company’s illegal act and instructed it to increase the workers’ wages properly, but the corporation ignored the instruction. In March 2014, the workers filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court.

In October 2015, the district court dismissed the workers’ demand for wage increases, while ordering the defendant to pay them some compensation. The plaintiffs appealed to the high court.

After making the settlement with the corporation, one of the complainants said, “At facilities for disabled children, it is essential to build a relationship of trust between the staff and children and their families. So we need decent working conditions so that we can continue to work.”

The union local had consistently supported the plaintiffs in the court battle. Local chair Kamei Mayumi said, “Pay increases and the improvement of working conditions lead to providing better services to users.”
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