Bill enacted on non-regular workers’ employment and working conditions
Jichiroren working for amendment of bill, better services for residents, and protection of non-regular workers’ employment
On May 11, a bill to amend the Local Public Service Act and the Local Autonomy Act, proposed by ruling parties, was enacted with the support of all
political parties except the Japanese Communist Party. The amended law is intended to give clear legal grounds to the employment of about 640,000 temporary workers in local municipalities in Japan (23% of all municipal workers) and to improve their wage situations.
Municipal jobs in the nation are supposed to be assigned to regular workers, but due to reduction of labor costs, more and more part-timers and low-wage non-regular workers have been employed to take over such jobs. Although the bill requires employers to pay summer and winter bonuses to their non-regular workers, it fails to redress the gap of basic salaries of regular and non-regular workers, which can be as large as twice or three times. On top of that, the serious problem of the bill is that it legally allows municipalities to assign many of jobs which should be done by regular employees to non-regular employees. It is aimed at replacing regular workers with low-wage non-regular workers in exchange for the insignificant increase in wages. It is a fake ‘equal pay for equal work’ policy, paralleled by a series of the adverse amendment of labor systems under the name of the “work-style reform” Prime Minister Abe is promoting.
Jichiroren made efforts to help non-regular workers understand the contents and aim of the bill and to get the bill modified. It carried out rallies and lobbied the government and Diet members. Submitted to the Diet on March 7, the bill was initially planned to be put to the vote following a brief deliberation. However, on April 13, Yuko Ogawa on behalf of Jichiroren expressed her opinions and clarified problems of the bill in a Diet session. Ogawa is a non-regular worker at an after-school child-care center. Although we were not able to realize the amendment of the bill, our campaign has pushed the Diet to increase non-regular workers’ wages and achieved government officials’ remarks in Diet deliberations that that non-regular employment should not be expanded.
Based on the amended Local Public Service Act, negotiations will be carried out by non-regular workers in each municipality for better wages and regular employment positions. We will make efforts to develop our campaign to achieve our goal. In order to avoid hiring of more regular workers, municipal authorities could outsource jobs assigned to non-regular workers to private entities. Jichiroren continues to promote our movement demanding that municipalities assign jobs to regular workers to be responsible for services necessary for residents.
|Photo: An urgent rally held by Jichiroren’s non-regular workers at a conference room of a Diet members’ building, on April 13. After the meeting they lobbied for the amendment of the bill.|