Many employers are fighting the requirement to give open ended contracts to “hiseiki” (irregular or contract workers) fearing that they will not be able to fire workers in the future. Employers as diverse as Japan Airlines, University of Tokyo and even ECC, are looking to simply break the law, or not comply fully, with the intent of the law.
Some employees are simply firing, or non-renewing workers, others realize they are stuck with their current employees but new-hires are being employed under a different category with working conditions that stipulate a maximum term of employment. At ECC, the employer is threatening to introduce a retirement-age but only for workers who choose unlimited term contracts.
Unions have been able to win in some cases already but the fight continues at many other places. Wins have happened at Japan Airlines and University of Tokyo to name a few. Here at the General Union we are currently in battle with Osaka Shoin and Sugiyama, and other places yet to be announced. We have already quietly won the issue at some places but cannot publicize these until after contracts have been signed. At one high school, we were able to win the cancellation of the firings of both Japanese and foreign part-timers.
Most disturbing of all the employers are government, or semi-government, employers that refuse to follow the law changes. It appears at the battle may have been won at JETRO through political pressure. Read more about the Jetro situation.
The need for unions is more evident than ever.