Lisa was working at Company B. She and her coworkers were upset about the zero-hour contracts they were getting. In these contracts, the working hours were not specified. Only the night before would Lisa know what her schedule for the next day would be like. Upset about this, Lisa decided to talk with her coworkers and organise. Management got word of this and decided to fire Lisa and all the employees who joined her in trying to unionise.
In both of these anecdotes, we have illegal activities on the part of employers. But what might be new to you is that these illegal activities fall into different categories: Labor Standard laws and Trade Union laws.
Labor Standard laws are the minimum requirements an employer has to provide to their employees. In the first story about David, we can see he was asked to work overtime for no extra compensation. This is a clear violation of the Labor Standard Law that states, ‘Overtime pay must be provided for any work over eight hours per day, over 40 hours per week or on holidays.’
Trade Union laws protect the rights of workers to organise. In the second case about Lisa, we can see a violation of these laws. It is illegal for employers to intimidate or fire workers because they wish to organise.
While both of these cases were imaginary, similar and even worse situation happen all too often in Japan. Know your rights and understand how Japanese Law protects you and your coworkers.