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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 September 11 - 17  > Unions concerned about 1-year employment system for non-regular public workers
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2019 September 11 - 17 [LABOR]

Unions concerned about 1-year employment system for non-regular public workers

September 11, 2019
Many temporary and non-regular local municipal workers will be employed on a fiscal-year basis under a new system which will start in April 2020, inevitably facing the increased possibility of contract non-renewal every year.

As of April 2016, the number of non-regular public workers stood at 640,000, and most of them will be rehired under the new system.

Unions which are affiliated with the Japan Federation of Prefectural and Municipal Workers' Unions (Jichiroren) argue that the new system will allow municipal administrators to easily terminate employment contracts with part-time public workers at the end of a fiscal year and will, therefore, keep them under this unstable employment situation. The unions are working hard so that non-regular public workers can obtain full-time regular positions and their pay levels in addition to their working conditions can be improved.

The unions are demanding that pay scales of non-regular public workers and their present working conditions be at the least maintained, and that the work contracts be open ended.

However, in order to prevent the fiscal burden from growing, some local governments already decided to trim non-regular workers' monthly wages in exchange for a payment of end-of-term bonuses.

Jichiroren claims that any worsening of non-regular public workers' working conditions run counter to the purpose of the new system. In a city in Saitama Prefecture, Jichiroren members' efforts succeeded in having the city government maintain and even improve non-regular public workers' working conditions.

A temporary childcare worker in Saitama's Kawagoe City said, "At our childcare center, irrespective of regular or non-regular, we are proud of working as childminders at 'Kawagoe Childcare'. Both full-time and part-time childcare workers cooperated with each other and began calling for the realization of equal treatment."

The Kawagoe City government, in response to their call, admitted to the actual conditions of work of non-regular childcare workers and said that it will drastically raise the wages of childcare workers and after-school daycare workers who will be fiscal-year-based temporary staff. Still, the large difference in treatment exists between regular and non-regular public workers.

Jichiroren's Saitama local said, "Disparities and inconsistencies will remain depending on local governments in the prefecture even after the new system is inaugurated in 2020. We need to continue to work for improvements."
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