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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 July 4 - 10  > Kanagawa Orchestra members demand withdrawal of dismissals
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2012 July 4 - 10 [LABOR]

Kanagawa Orchestra members demand withdrawal of dismissals

July 5, 2012
Dismissed workers of the Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra filed a petition on July 4 against a foundation operating the band in the Yokohama District Court for provisional disposition on keeping their positions and payment of their wages.

The petitioners are contrabass players of the orchestra, Fusegi Kenji and Sugimoto Tadashi. They are members of the Kanagawa public service general workers’ union.

The foundation had forced on its musicians sharp cuts in wages of over 25% and paid no bonuses for the last 10 years. In addition, it recently proposed that it will introduce a mandatory retirement system at age 60 without paying retirement allowances.

The 2 discharged workers had played a key role in labor-management negotiations over these issues to protect performers’ livelihoods.

In April, the foundation suddenly gave a dismissal notice to the 2 workers on the pretext that they are “terribly poor musicians” and “brought disgrace on the band”. Demanding withdrawal of their discharge, the union bargained collectively with the management. The band owner rejected the demand, however.

Fusegi said at the news conference, “I joined the orchestra 30 years ago. We went through many hardships, carrying our musical instruments everywhere by ourselves. It is mortifying to be deprived of a chance to play.”

A lawyer in charge of this case pointed out that their dismissal is illegal as well as unjustifiable. “It is obvious that the employer discharged these workers with the intent to weaken the union,” he said.
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