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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 March 13 - 19  > IBM Japan’s refusal to explain unfairly-low wages for over 60-year-old workers ruled as illegal
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2024 March 13 - 19 [LABOR]

IBM Japan’s refusal to explain unfairly-low wages for over 60-year-old workers ruled as illegal

March 19, 2024
The Tokyo Metropolitan Labor Relations Commission recently ordered IBM Japan to explain why it pays only 170,000 yen a month to all workers aged 60 and over who were reemployed after reaching the company-set retirement age, even though they continued doing the same work.

This came to light on March 18 at a press conference that the Japan Metal, Manufacturing, Information and Telecommunication Workers' Union (JMITU) IBM Japan Branch held in the Labor Ministry office building.

According to the union, IBM Japan in April 2013, in response to the revision of the Act on Stabilization of Employment of Elderly Persons, introduced a system to rehire retirees aged 60 and over as contract workers. Under this system, re-employed workers receive an across-the-board salary of 170,000 yen a month regardless of the work they do. In a case where retirees are reemployed in the same job, they are paid 80% lower wages than what they earned in their last year on the job before retirement.

The JMITU IBM Japan, based on the part-time/fixed-term employment act designed to seek equal treatment between regular and non-regular workers, requested the company to provide an explanation as to why it pays only 170,000 yen per month to re-employed workers across the board. However, the company repeated to give ambiguous explanations. Consequently, the union in November 2020 filed with the Tokyo labor board a claim against the company’s unfair labor practice.

The Tokyo labor board in its latest decision recognized IBM Japan’s failure to provide a concrete reply to the union’s demand as an unfair labor practice.

Furthermore, the labor board acknowledged that Kyndryl Japan KK, which was established through a demerger of IBM Japan’s IT infrastructure business, also has the same obligation as IBM Japan to explain about rehired workers’ low wages.

At the press conference, on behalf of the union’s legal team, lawyer Minaguchi Yosuke welcomed the industrial labor board’s judgement and said that this judgment made it clear that IBM Japan’s refusal to respond to the union’s request for an explanation based on the part-time/fixed-term employment act is illegal.
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