Petition for Equal Treatment and Regular Employment for Irregular Postal Staff
Japan Post Group and its related companies have a total of about 190,000 irregular employees (part-timers, limited-term contract employees etc.) working as essential members of their staff.
The court case over Article 20 of the Labor Contract Act, filed by eleven irregular post office workers who sought correction of the disparity in work conditions between them and the regular employees, finally saw a Supreme Court verdict on October 15, 2020. This was widely taken up in the news media.
The ruling recognized disparities as “unreasonable and illegal” with regard to family allowances, year-end and New Year work allowances, premium wages for holiday work during the New Year period, unpaid sick leave, and summer and winter vacations. For housing allowances, the Superior Courts have already found disparity to be unreasonable. On the day of the Supreme Court verdict, Japan Post Commented that “In view of the importance of the problem, we will work on making the necessary adjustments to our system”. Now the companies of Japan Post Group must each obey the ruling and promptly carry out its requirements by amending their work rules and pay schedules accordingly.
The verdict did not order corrections to differences in bonuses. However, under the “Equal Pay for Equal Work” guidelines in the laws related to “work-style reform”, bonuses are meant to be “paid in accordance with the worker’s contribution; and where there is a certain difference in this, to be paid according to the difference”. So Japan Post Group must also correct disparities in bonuses where these lead to gaps in yearly income conditions between regular and irregular staff.
The Interior Ministry has submitted a Postal Act amendment to the extraordinary Session of the Diet that would change delivery from 6 days a week to 5 (no mail on Saturdays), causing worries of severe cuts in service, citing a “labor shortage” as the reason.
Japan Post Group has made many people lose trust in the whole of the postal system through troubles such as the postal insurance sales scandal and the problems caused by JP Bank’s leak of personal information. As an enterprise that provides and maintains public services in finance and in communication, JP Group should increase personnel to end their shortage, get away from quotas and performance pay, and act from the users’ point of view.
At this time, as a business with a high proportion of irregular staff, JP group should switch to equal treatment and regular employment. We strongly urge they realize the following demands, in order that all their irregular staff members can have hope for their future at work.
- Make employees “associate staff” after three years of limited-term contract renewals; after two years as associate staff, employ all who wish it as regular staff.
- Along with fair and proper employment of regular staff, make large increases in the numbers of single-year appointments
- Raise the minimum wage for hourly contract employees to at least \1200 per hour everywhere nationwide
- Where there are disparities between regular and irregular workers in lump sums or allowances (cold-weather area, nighttime special, early-start etc.) or in benefits, correct these.