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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 February 16 - 22  > Zenroren holds rally to demand application of labor protection measures to freelance workers
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2022 February 16 - 22 [LABOR]

Zenroren holds rally to demand application of labor protection measures to freelance workers

February 17, 2022
The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) on February 16 at the Upper House members’ office building held a rally to demand that freelancers and workers treated as “sole proprietors” such as Amazon delivery drivers and animators be covered by labor protection measures.

In the rally, an Amazon delivery driver (a member of the All Japan Construction, Transport and General Workers' Union) said, “I work at least 13 hours a day under orders from Amazon. I have no option to refuse to work the long hours. Due to fatigue, I live in fear of an accident. I want these harsh work conditions to be investigated.”

Kakehashi Toshiaki, secretary general of the Federation of Cinema and Theatrical Workers Union of Japan (Eien-Roren) organizing animators, reported that most animators are employed as independent contractors and that the low unit price for animators force them to work excessively long hours in order to make ends meet. Kakehashi also reported that at Toei Animation, one of Japan’s oldest studios in the animation industry, due to the union’s 40-year-long fight, animators finally won direct employment contracts.

Former assistant manager of the nationwide chain of business hotels "Super Hotel" Watanabe Asami said that although she worked under an outsourcing contract with the hotel chain, she had no authority over hotel operations and was unable to take even a day off. She pointed out that her contract contained various discriminative items, such as a possible dismissal because of her state of pregnancy. Joining the Tokyo Youth Union, she is waging a legal battle to get her unfair dismissal revoked by the company.

Japanese Communist Party members of the House of Councilors Kurabayashi Akiko and Kira Yoshiko delivered solidarity speeches. Kira said, “With the use of workers outside of traditional employment contracts increasing, many workers are forced to work under sweat-shop like conditions. I’ll work hard in the Diet to improve labor protection measures.”

In advance of the rally, Zenroren made representations to the Transport and Labor ministries, demanding the introduction of labor protection for freelancers and workers designated as sole proprietors.

Past related articles:
> Union urges gov’t to introduce legal protection for independent contract couriers [November 12, 2021]
> Hotel managers file lawsuit demanding withdrawal of unfair dismissals during coronavirus crisis [May 29, 2020]
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