Witnesses Soon to be Examined in West Japan Postal Service Article 20 Case!

Postal Industry Workers’ Union, Kinki
West Japan Article 20 Court Case NEWS FLASH #1

Based on Keidanren’s policy of “Japanese-style management for a new era”, announced in 1995, the government answered their call with an overall worsening of the system of labor laws. With labor costs then generally subject to cost-cutting pressure, irregular employment started growing in the mid 1990s. And now there are said to be 20 million irregularly-employed workers in this country. As a result, poverty and inequality have continued to grow for the past 20 years, becoming an unavoidable problem for society.

On the other hand, in April of 2013, the Labor Contract Act was amended to forbid “the setting of unreasonable disparity in labor conditions between limited-term contracts (limited-term employees) and unlimited-term contracts (regular employees) based on the contract having a term limit”. (Labor Contract Act, Article 20).

197,000 of our fellow irregular employees are at work in the Postal Service. We at the Postal Industry Union have fought for many years for our major goal of eliminating disparity between us and the regular workers. Based on Article 20 of the Labor Contract Act, and aiming to get rid of the discrimination against irregularly-employed workers that is prevalent in our workplaces, we filed suit against Japan Post in both the Tokyo District Court (East Japan) and the Osaka District Court (West Japan). 

The contents of our case are: a demand for summer and year-end [bonuses], holiday pay, and allowances for the year-end busy period, etc.; and confirmation that we are eligible for the same leave that regular workers can take, such as summer and winter breaks, sick leave and so on.

This past February 6 and February 20, witness examination in the East Japan case was held at the Tokyo District Court. Company witnesses there testified that “The regular employees are outstanding workers who were able to pass a civil service examination before privatization, or a qualification test after that. Irregular employees not only have not done this; they have chosen not to take the regular-employment promotion test due to their own wishes to remain comfortable in irregular employment, since regular employees must shoulder heavier responsibility.” It has become clear that they hold us in contempt. We can say that they openly have discriminatory intent, and do not even recognize us as individual human beings. We are not hoping to remain “comfortably” irregular, but earnestly desiring equal treatment to the regular employees. Also, as is only natural, the great majority of our fellow irregular workers take pride in doing the same work, and having the same responsibilities, as regular workers.

Currently, besides the Postal Service, there are also other ongoing court cases about Article 20 of the labor Contract Act. But in our case, the defendant is Japan Post, one of Japan’s leading employers of irregular workers. So it is said that this case could have a tremendous effect on the employment environment in this country.

Examination of witnesses is finally starting on May 25 at Osaka District Court #202. The grand courtroom has a 91-seat public gallery. Please, let’s flood it with our supporters.

Witness Examination Schedule Osaka District Court, Courtroom 202 (91 public seats)

May 25 (Thurs.) 10:45-
Examination of 4 witnesses for the company

May 29 (Mon.) 10:00-
3 union and union-side witnesses

June 5 (Mon.) 10:00-
3 union and union-side witnesses

June 7 (Wed.) 10:00-
2 union and union-side witnesses

Additional information