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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 February 14 - 20  > Workers, subcontractors, and air pollution victims protest against Toyota
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2007 February 14 - 20 [LABOR]

Workers, subcontractors, and air pollution victims protest against Toyota

February 14, 2007
At Toyota Motor’s head office and factories in Toyota City in Aichi Prefecture on February 12, workers, subcontractors, and air pollution victims staged s protest against the company in the 28th annual concerted action. Some 1,600 people shouted in unison, “Return your enormous profits to society!”

Participants from around the country made representations to Toyota, carried out demonstrations, and took part in a rally, demanding that Toyota increase its number of regular employees and settle the air pollution lawsuits.

In the rally, National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) Secretary General Odagawa Yoshikazu and Aichi Prefectural Federation of Trade Unions (Ai-Roren) President Hane Katsuaki made speeches. They said, “Toyota’s disregard of corporate social responsibility exerts an adverse effect on other large corporations, increasing the number of workers suffering from poverty.”

A worker working at Toyota Takaoka factory in his speech criticized the company for making profits at the sacrifice of subcontractors due to constant and fierce cost cutting pressures and abuse of low-wage young workers using irresponsible labor practices, including disguised contract labor.

A 37-year-old woman whose husband, a Toyota Tsutsumi factory worker, died from overwork said, “Toyota forced my husband to shoulder too much additional work. The company describes the additional work as workers’ voluntary activities, but in fact this is illegal overtime work without pay. This extra work called ‘KAIZEN’ (continuous improvement) assures the company larger profits.”

A leader of the Tokyo air pollution lawsuit called on Toyota, a defendant company, to fully settle the case by paying compensation to the victims.

A rally participant, who had formed the All-Japan Metal and Information Machinery Workers’ Union (JMIU)-affiliated union last year at his Toyota-affiliated company, said, “I work for 12 hours a day on two shifts plus overtime of 70 hours a month, but I am hardly better off. I wish to earn enough in the basic wage to live on without the overtime work.”

A worker of a Toyota subcontractor complained, “Toyota imposes cuts in unit prices one after another. Every six months, we are forced to cut the price by 1.2 percent.”
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