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12 laid-off workers sue Isuzu Motors

Twelve contingent workers who have received dismissal notices from Isuzu Motors Limited filed a lawsuit on April 2 with the Tokyo District Court against the automaker, arguing that they had long been forced to work as "disguised contract workers" and that they have the legal right to continue to work as full-time workers.

The plaintiffs are four fixed-term contract workers and eight temporary workers at Isuzu Motors Tochigi Plant (Tochigi Pref.) and Fujisawa Plant (Kanagawa Pref.), and all of them are members of the All-Japan Metal and Information Machinery Workers' Union (JMIU) Isuzu branch.

They claim that forcing the temporary workers to work as "disguised independent contractors" is against the terms of the Employment Security Act, and that refusing to renew the contracts of the fixed-term contract workers is invalid as it falls short of meeting the "four requirements for dismissals for downsizing."

In November last year, Isuzu Motors announced that it would lay off 1,400 fixed-term contractors and temporary workers. Opposing this decision, some workers formed a union and succeeded in winning the withdrawal of the decision to dismiss the fixed-term contractors late last year.

However, the temporary workers were dismissed in the middle of their contracts at the end of last year, and contracts of the fixed-term contractors will also be denied renewal within this month.

At a news conference, 46-year-old Matsumoto Hirotoshi, JMIU Isuzu branch chair, said, "What we demand is stable job positions. We want Isuzu to hire us as full-time regular employees."

Miura Yoshinori, 27, said, "The Isuzu issue represents problems all non-regular workers are experiencing now. We want companies to stop the offhanded dismissals."

- Akahata, April 3, 2009

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