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2012 February 15 - 21 [LABOR]

Court rejects ex-Honda contract worker’s demand to be instated as full-time worker

February 18, 2012
The Tokyo District Court on February 17 ruled against a former fixed-term contract worker at Honda Motor Co., Ltd. demanding a full-time position.

Sakurai Hitoshi, plaintiff and member of the All-Japan Metal and Information Machinery Workers’ Union (JMIU), was employed as a fixed-term contract worker at the Honda factory in Tochigi Prefecture in 1997 and assigned to the same job as full-time workers.

Honda renewed Sakurai’s contract monthly. It repeated the renewal 104 times between 1997 and 2008. At the end of 2008, Honda decided to terminate Sakurai’s contract.

In his lawsuit, Sakurai claimed that Honda should offer him a full-time position on the grounds that his contract was renewed more than 100 times during 11 years and that he did the same job as full-time workers.

The ruling states that Honda renewed Sakurai’s contract for very short intervals because the company had to adjust its workforce in accordance to production volume. It also said that even if Sakurai suffered inconvenience from this practice, he could not blame the company because working under a fixed-term contract was his own choice.

Showing no understanding in regard to the real state of workplaces, the court stated that if the company recognized the plaintiff as being capable of doing the same job as full-time workers, it would have offered him a full-time position.

Sakurai expressed his determination to continue his struggle by appealing to a higher court.
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