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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 August 15 - 21  > Osaka city workers penalized for taking 10-minute break
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2012 August 15 - 21 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

Osaka city workers penalized for taking 10-minute break

August 21, 2012
The Osaka City government has punished four workers for taking a 10-minute break on their way back to the city office from working outdoors.

According to the city, the four workers, staff of the taxation bureau, stopped at a coffee shop and had about ten minutes rest en route to the office after completing their outside duties such as home inspections for calculating the tax amount. One or two of the workers even face a one-month salary cut.

Lawyer Omae Osamu, who works to protect workers’ rights, said, “This punishment of the city workers is obviously illegal and thus invalid. Taking a 10-minute break during outside jobs is useful for workers to recover from fatigue and increase efficiency. It is normal for workers to do so in private corporations.”

The problem is that the case resulted from information provided by townspeople.

Osaka City Mayor Hashimoto Toru since he assumed office has claimed, “If public sector workers and their unions have the power to do what they want, the nation will collapse.” Seeing public servants as his enemy, he intends to arouse public prejudice toward civil servants. This might excite citizens’ hostility toward city workers and create a society enshrouded in an atmosphere which encourages people to inform on city employees to the city authorities.
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