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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 October 11 - 17  > Female union activists discuss ways to achieve gender equality in workplace
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2023 October 11 - 17 [LABOR]

Female union activists discuss ways to achieve gender equality in workplace

October 12, 2023
Female union activists in a workshop discussed ways to realize gender equality in the workplace based on lessons learned from a lawsuit in which female non-regular workers at Maruko Keihoki Co., Ltd. had fought against wage inequality between regular and non-regular workers.

The workshop was held with the attendance of 71 people as part of the annual National Meeting of Working Women which took place on October 7 and 8 in Nagano Prefecture.

The Maruko Keihoki lawsuit was filed in 1996 by 28 non-regular female workers who joined the All-Japan Metal and Information Machinery Workers' Union (currently the Japan Metal, Manufacturing, Information and Telecommunication Workers' Union). In the court battle, they claimed that despite doing the same job, they were paid 60% of regular workers’ wages. In 1999, they won a court-mediated settlement in which the company agreed to narrow the regular/non-regular pay gap to 10% from the previous 40%.

In the workshop, a former plaintiff, Takizawa Mikiko, talked about the positive experiences she had during the legal battle. In addition to encouragement and support from regular workers, she said that over 180,000 people, including a majority of residents in Maruko Town where the company is located, signed a petition in support of the 28 plaintiffs’ legal battle.

Lawyer Kon’no Hisako, a former member of the plaintiffs’ legal team, pointed out that many companies take advantage of traditional gender roles and use women as cheap labor to increase profits. She said that it is important for workers to unite and fight for gender equality and for a workplace which respects all workers’ human rights and dignity.

Past related article:
> Non-regular workers exchange experiences in minimum wage hike movements [June 5 & 7, 2016]
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