Declaration of Rights of Municipal Workers, a Draft
1. All residents live their life, from birth to death, in a locality/local municipal area.
Every resident is equally guaranteed human dignity and he or she wants to live a wholesome, cultured and peaceful life. The Japanese Constitution guarantees this as a major human rights principle.
Local municipalities, which are based on self-government by residents, have an important role as “forts to champion the life and well-being of residents” and to guarantee such fundamental human rights. Local municipalities are an important basic element of Japan’s democracy.
2. Today, the principles of the Constitution, such as people’s sovereignty, respect for fundamental human rights, everlasting peace, parliamentary democracy and local self-government, are being infringed.
The state and many local municipalities have abandoned the role of defending self-government by residents and their life, and instead they are promoting a policy of servicing the big companies which brings about deterioration of the people’s life. This is jeopardizing human rights, including the right of the people to exist, such as welfare, medical treatment and education.
This situation is developing alongside the undermining of the life and right to work of municipal workers and their role as “servants of the whole community” for the people.
3. The history of municipal workers in the pre-war period was a painful one because they were forced to work according to strict rules and suppress the people for the war of aggression, as the “servants of Tenno (emperor)” under the absolute Tenno system of government.
Following the Second World War, the Japanese Constitution, which is based on soul-searching about such history, provides that municipal workers have duties as “servants of the whole community” and requests them to respect and observe the Constitution which is based on people’s sovereignty.
In response to the Constitution’s request, we municipal workers want to fulfill our duties proudly by making efforts in our jobs to help guarantee all residents a wholesome, cultured and peaceful life.
4. The Constitution guarantees all workers, which includes municipal workers, the fundamental right to labor.
We municipal workers are convinced that we can meet the desires and expectations of all the residents, only when fundamental human rights, including political and civil freedom as guaranteed by the Constitution, and the fundamental right to labor are combined with the right to exercise our duties as “servants of the whole community” for the people, and when the indivisibility of these rights is guaranteed.
5. For all municipal workers to be guaranteed their rights as human beings and workers is the proper way to defend the life of residents and local self-government. A prosperous life for residents and the development of local self-government is the way to defend the life and rights of municipal workers and to ensure they work with pride for a life worth living.
With the determination to realize this way in conjunction with all residents, municipal workers have decided on this Declaration of the Rights of Municipal Workers.
Municipal Workers and the Guarantee of Fundamental Human Rights
(Definition of municipal workers)
Article 1. i) Municipal workers are workers who are employed by any local municipality. Municipal workers are not personally subservient to municipal authorities; neither do they relinquish their consciences and freedom to the authorities.
ⅱ) Municipal workers work in local municipalities and assume the responsibility and duties to defend the life and rights of residents as the “servants of the whole community” for the residents.
(Respect for fundamental human rights)
Article 2. i) Under the principle that sovereignty rests with the people, municipal workers can be regarded as sovereign, and they should be guaranteed all human rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.
ⅱ) Municipal workers are guaranteed the right to freely express their opinions based on their own thoughts and beliefs, and the freedom to support any political party and to take part in political activity and are free to assemble and associate with others.
Municipal workers should not be discriminated against by reason of their thoughts, beliefs, gender or for any other reasons.
ⅲ)Municipal workers reject all discrimination based on gender. True equality between the sexes must be guaranteed.
Guarantee of Right to Live and Work as Human Beings
(Guarantee of fundamental rights to labor)
Article 3. i) Municipal workers should have the right to organize, the right to bargain collectively and the right to act together and to live and work as human beings to pursue freedom and happiness.
ⅱ) Any law or order which bans or restricts these rights would violate the Constitution, and these rights of municipal workers must not be distorted by the control and interference of municipal authorities.
(Wages and working conditions)
Article 4. i) Municipal workers’ wages should be adequate to enable them to live a wholesome and cultured life so that they can devote themselves to carrying out their duties as “servants of the whole community” for the residents.
All wage systems which discriminate to divide workers, such as wages based on job evaluation, job ranking and job results, should be abolished.
ⅱ) The number of municipal workers required should be sufficient to guarantee that administrations can give the highest priority to residents, taking into consideration their full right to take annual paid holidays and all special paid leave.
iii) Working hours of municipal workers should be drastically cut so that they can restore their human dignity and freedom to realize an enjoyable life.
Overtime work should be regulated as something exceptional and continuous overtime work should be abolished.
iv) Municipal workers should be guaranteed the right to work in healthy and safe conditions.
To guarantee this right, municipal authorities should take steps to ensure that workplaces are comfortable with a safe and healthy working environment and to generally improve working conditions.
(Guarantee of status of municipal workers)
Article 5. i) The employment and status of municipal workers should be guaranteed to ensure their life and job and to achieve administrations which give the highest priority to residents.
ⅱ) Recruitment, personnel changes and promotion are the main factors of working conditions. These should be based on principles of democracy, openness and equality and any kind of discrimination and unfair and arbitrary action should be excluded.
iii) Concerning personnel changes and promotion, municipal workers should have the right to make the request for their own advancement and to be able to object to any preliminary offer.
(Decisions on wages and working conditions, etc.)
Article 6. All decisions on wages, working conditions and other relevant things should be made independently and based on the principle of equality in labor-management relations and by collective bargaining between the trade unions, which municipal workers belong to, and the municipal authorities as the management.
Article 7. Municipal workers and trade unions have the right to expect prompt remedial action, by an independent impartial third-party organization, in defiance of any discrimination and violation of workers’ rights by municipal authorities.
Guarantee of Right to Conduct Duties as “Servants of the Whole Community” for Residents
(Right of participation and expression)
Article 8. i) Municipal workers have the right to participate in the whole administrative process and in the process of formulating, deciding and enforcing the policy of municipalities.
ii) In the event of there being a serious error in a job order by a municipal head, superior officer or other persons, or there is the possibility that the enforcement of a job order would violate the human rights of municipal workers and residents, then municipal workers have the right to reject such an order.
(Training and study and reporting to residents)
Article 9. i) Municipal workers have the right to conduct free and independent study and to undergo necessary training for this purpose.
ii) Training given by municipal authorities should be based on the democratic principles of the Constitution and the Local Government Act and help to ensure the ability of municipal workers to carry out their duties and for their human development.
iii) Municipal workers and their trade unions have the right to report to residents on current situations and the tasks of municipal administrations, other than those concerned with possible violations of human rights and the privacy of residents.
(Making national and local politics democratic and cooperation with residents)
Article 10. i) Municipal workers and their trade unions have the right to act in cooperation with residents and organizations consisting of residents to make national and local politics democratic.
ii) Municipal workers and their trade unions have the right to expose the truth about any unjust and inefficient administration, money-based corruption and other problems, and to demand clarification of the responsibility on such matters.
iii) Government and municipal authorities must not take any discriminatory action and countermeasures against the exercise of these rights.