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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 March 14 - 20  > Vietnamese ‘trainees’ call for unpaid wages to be paid
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2007 March 14 - 20 [LABOR]

Vietnamese ‘trainees’ call for unpaid wages to be paid

March 17, 2007
Revealing that they had been forced to work at 312 yen an hour, less than half the minimum wage, at a sewing plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, six Vietnamese publicly called for their unpaid wages to be paid back.

On March 16, they held a press conference at the Ibaraki prefectural office building with Terama Seiji, secretary general of the Liaison Council on Migrant Labor Issues of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren).

These Vietnamese women, all 24 or 25 years old, came to Japan in April 2004 as trainees accepted by the Ibaraki Textile Cooperative Union. They worked at three companies in Daigo Town in the prefecture as trainees for a year and later as interns until January of this year.

However, it is suspected that a single company used them all by disguising itself as three separate companies in order to get around the law. Companies with 50 Japanese employees or less are legally allowed to accept up to three foreign trainees.

The company’s president illegally took away the Vietnamese women’s passports to prevent them from running away and forcibly collected 30,000 yen a month from them as “savings.”

Although the law prevents employers from forcing trainees to work overtime or on holidays, those Vietnamese women were forced to do so. After the one-year training period was over, they became forced to work sometimes all night or until three or four o’clock in the morning.

The company went bankrupt in January, and these six women in March joined the Labor Union of Migrant Workers to deal with their problems. However, since their permit to stay in Japan will expire in April, they will return to Vietnam on March 17.
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