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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 September 13 - 19  > Japan Post ordered to end its unfair treatment of non-regular workers
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2017 September 13 - 19 TOP3 [LABOR]

Japan Post ordered to end its unfair treatment of non-regular workers

September 15, 2017
The Tokyo District Court on September 14 ruled that “unreasonable” disparities in wages between regular and non-regular workers at Japan Post are illegal, and ordered the company to pay compensation to three fixed-term employees. Joint struggles by regular and non-regular workers have brought about this victory for workers.

The plaintiffs, who are members of the Postal Industry Workers’ Union, in the court battle said that although they do the same job and shoulder the same responsibility as regular workers, they are facing unreasonable discrimination which violates the Labor Contract Law. As examples of discrimination, the three workers pointed out that additional wages for working on New Year holidays and the housing allowances are exclusive for regular workers; that the annual amount of bonuses for non-regular workers is one million yen lower than that for regular workers; and that fixed-term employees are excluded from taking summer and winter vacations and paid sick leave.

The court ordered Japan Post to pay the three plaintiffs a total of 920,000 yen in damages for the exclusion from extra pay for the New Year holidays and the housing allowances. The court stated that it is “unreasonable” for the company not to give fixed-term employees seasonal vacations and paid sick leave. On the other hand, the court ruling approved the gaps in bonuses and allowances by saying that they are within the acceptable range.

After the ruling, plaintiffs’ lawyers and the Postal Industry Workers’ Union jointly issued a statement describing the ruling as “epoch-making”. The statement states that the court acknowledged labor law violations by Japan Post, which employs 190,000 non-regular employees. It also states that the court decision will open a path for narrowing disparities in labor conditions at a time when the number of non-regular workers is increasing and economic disparities are growing.

The joint statement adds that the ruling is a fruit of the workers’ joint struggle as shown by the fact that regular workers at Japan Post spoke out in the courtroom in support of the plaintiffs. The statement demands that Japan Post sincerely accept the judgment and immediately start negotiations with the union.

Past related articles:
> Non-regular postal workers fighting in court for fair treatment [January 6, 2017]
> Non-regular workers sue Japan Post for equal working conditions [July 2, 2014]
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