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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 June 16 - 22  > Olympus workers with disabilities hold 24-hour strike for higher wages
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2021 June 16 - 22 TOP3 [LABOR]

Olympus workers with disabilities hold 24-hour strike for higher wages

June 22, 2021
Seeking to win higher wages, unionized disabled workers at Japan’s leading manufacturer of optical and digital precision technology, Olympus Corporation, on June 21 held a 24-hour strike.

They are employed as contractors by Olympus-Supportmate Corp., one of the Olympus group companies established for the purpose of promoting the legally required employment of people with disabilities.

Last year, they formed their union, which is a local of the Tokyo Youth Union, and won the conversion to regular positions which led to an increase in their hourly wages. Despite this achievement, they can only earn 140,000 yen after taxes each month, which is insufficient to live on their own in Tokyo.

Demanding a monthly wage hike of 20,000 yen, the unionized workers have repeatedly negotiated collectively with the company. However, the company offered only a 2,000-yen wage hike. In protest against the company’s response, the union decided to call for a strike.

At a rally during the 24-hour strike, the head of the Tokyo Youth Union branch, Umei Ken’nichi, said, “I’m doing Japanese-to-English translation and other jobs which used to be done by able-bodied regular workers. However, I’m paid less than what they were paid. It’s not fair.”

A 30-year-old union member, Matsumura Masami, said, “Due to my insufficient wage, I need to ask my parents for support in my living expenses. I want to live on what I make on my own.”

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