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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 February 11 - 18  > Unionized media workers rally to oppose TV Asahi’s unfair dismissal of temporary workers
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2020 February 11 - 18 [LABOR]

Unionized media workers rally to oppose TV Asahi’s unfair dismissal of temporary workers

February 14, 2020
A rally took place on February 13 in the Dietmembers’ office building to oppose TV Asahi Corporation’s dismissal of more than ten temporary workers working as key staff of a news program.

The rally was organized by the Mass Media Information and Culture Union (MIC).

The targeted temporary workers have long been engaged in key jobs such as news director, of TV Asahi’s flagship news show “Hodo Station”. Last year, they were notified by the company of the termination of their contracts at the end of March 2020. Regarding the reason for the termination of contracts, TV Asahi explained that the ending of employment is part of the company’s plan to reshuffle the “Hodo Station” personnel.

In the rally, MIC chair Minami Akira, who also heads the Japan Federation of Newspaper Workers' Unions (Shimbun Roren), cast a doubt on TV Asahi’s explanation by citing the reduction in coverage of Diet deliberations on “Hodo Station”. He suggested that the company intends to dismiss veteran workers with the aim of making the program more amenable to the Abe government.

In fact, just one week before the dismissal notice was given to temporary workers, a Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker made a complaint against the TV company regarding the Hodo Station reports on the cherry blossom-viewing party scandal.

The head of the Japan Federation of Commercial Broadcast Workers' Unions (Minpo-roren), Tsuchiya Yoshitsugu, who is also a MIC vice chair, said, “It is necessary to change the situation where workers who play central roles in Japan’s leading news program are kept under unstable employment contracts. We need to win the fight against TV Asahi’s dismissal of temporary workers as well as the fight to protect freedom of the press.”

Journalist Yamada Atsushi expressed his hope that the TV Asahi temporary workers’ struggle will increase public awareness of the low wages and disposable use of workers in the television industry.

Lawmakers of opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, also attended the rally. JCP lawmaker Miyamoto Toru said, “TV Asahi’s dismissal of temporary workers may have the effect of media workers hesitating to provide balanced news coverage of the government and the Diet. This will undermine people’s right to know. This matter should be addressed from the viewpoint of not only the labor issue but also the issue of freedom of the press.”
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