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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 March 20 - 26  > Survey on city workers’ political thoughts is unfair labor practice: labor board
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2013 March 20 - 26 TOP3 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

Survey on city workers’ political thoughts is unfair labor practice: labor board

March 26, 2013

The Osaka Labor Relations Commission on March 25 acknowledged that a survey on political thoughts of all the public workers of Osaka City had constituted a case of unfair labor practice.

The labor board ordered Mayor Hashimoto Toru, who conducted the survey last February, to hand in a written apology to a city workers’ union.

The mayor surveyed the public employees about their union membership and their engagement in political activities. Threatening them with punishment, he even forced them to answer who invited them to be involved in such activities, regardless of whether they were residents or municipal workers.

The labor relations authorities ruled that the survey constitutes a violation of the Labor Union Act because it had functioned to intervene in and intimidate workers from participating in the union activities.

Mayor Hashimoto, since assuming office late 2011, has been hostile to the public workers’ union, frequently insisting that public employees’ unions will ruin the country. Pointing to his political bias, city assemblypersons of the Japanese Communist Party and JCP member of the House of Councilors Yamashita Yoshiki have taken up this issue in the assembly and in the Diet, respectively.

The mayor initially apologized for the illegal survey and promised to comply with the labor board’s order. However, he later made an about-face telling reporters that he will file a complaint against the labor relations authorities’ decision.

Yamaguchi Katsutoshi, head of the JCP Osaka Prefectural Committee, issued a statement in support of the day’s rulings.

The statement evaluates the judgment as a victory for all the city workers and citizens who stood up against the unconstitutional survey on individual thoughts, and demands that the mayor obey the order the labor board issued.

The statement touches on the fact that the JCP in the city assembly and the national Diet repeatedly criticized the survey as even targeting ordinary citizens by pressing the public workers to give the names of people who asked the city workers to go to political events.

The Osaka JCP chair stated in the comment that the order which condemned Mayor Hashimoto’s action is very important, and that the mayor should make clear that he will never attempt to repeat similar unconstitutional acts.

Related past articles:
> Osakans file suit against mayor’s political activities survey [December 13, 2012]
> Osaka city workers sue city for mental anguish brought about by survey [July 31, 2012]
> Osakans urge mayor to return money used for political beliefs survey [June 7, 2012]
> Osaka mayor defends assemblyman over fabricated anti-union data [April 13, 2012]
> Osaka City destroys data illegally obtained regarding city workers’ political beliefs [April 8, 2012]
> Osaka City education board forgoes survey on political beliefs of teachers [February 22, 2012]
> Osaka mayor tries to make Osaka gov’t act as secret police: Shii [February 17, 2012]
> Bar association demands halt to Osaka mayor’s survey on political beliefs [February 15, 2012]
> Osaka Mayor Hashimoto conducts survey on municipal workers’ political beliefs [February 14, 2012]
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