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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 16 - 22  > Government panel calls for drastically relaxing working rules
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2007 May 16 - 22 [LABOR]

Government panel calls for drastically relaxing working rules

May 22, 2007
A working group of the Council for the Promotion of Regulatory Reform on May 21 made public its report calling for a massive adverse revision of labor laws.

The report proposes a full deregulation on working hours as well as on contingent employment and opposes an increase in the minimum wage.

The council argued that deregulation will lead to establishing a society in which “everyone will have more opportunities.” In reality, however, that will help create a society in which corporations can use workers as a disposable workforce and workers will suffer from increasing poverty and unstable employment.

“The idea that strengthened workers’ rights will protect workers is a myth and is wrong,” the report stated. It stressed the need to completely remove labor regulations, stating “An open market for everyone will redress disparities, protect workers, and promotes business activities.”

The group expressed its opposition to an increase in the minimum wage by claiming, “Such an increase would create the unemployment of workers who are unable to increase their productivity to a level deserving of higher wages.” It also categorically opposes strengthening women workers’ rights.

Concerning the dismissal of workers, it demands an easing of regulations under the pretext that any dismissal is a matter that should be left to the parties concerned. It also calls for the introduction of a system to allow dismissals in return for money.

It also calls for a review of laws banning disguised contract labor, the removal of a regulation banning the use of temporary workers for more than three years, and lifting the ban on the use of temporary workers in designated industries such as port transport.

It further calls for the abolition of the Labor Policy Council in which representatives of both labor and management take part, replacing it with another type of policy-making body.

National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) Secretary General Odagawa Yoshikazu criticized this report for ignoring the historical background and purpose of the laws to protect workers and emphasizing the market forces. He said, “We will increase our struggle in opposition to the wholesale adverse revision of the labor laws. We will appeal to the public to oppose this move in the upcoming House of Councilors election.”
- Akahata, May 22, 2007
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