Thursday, December 24, 2015

Watami karoshi lawsuit reaches a landmark settlement

The karoshi lawsuit filed against the Japanese pub chain Watami Co. and its former president WATANABE Miki has finally come to close after a two-year-long settlement. The lawsuit was filed over the death of its employee, MORI Mina, who committed suicide only two months after joining Watami, because of excessive work caused by the company’s motto, “Work 24 hours a day 365 days a year till you die.” The settlement was a landmark, all-out victory for the bereaved and the National Union of General Workers, Tokyo Tobu.
 At the press conference in the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on Dec. 8, MORI Tsuyoshi, father of the victim and the suit’s plaintiff said, “Watanabe has disliked the labor union from the beginning. Although we have been at a loss about what to do with ourselves, we have been greatly encouraged by the labor union, Tokyo Tobu, and our supportive friends.” The mother, Yuko, said, “How I wish I could turn back time. I deeply regret that I should have done everything to stop her when she expressed her desire to work at Watami. I will regret forever that I couldn’t help her out of such difficulties.” 
 At the end of her remarks she said, “I haven’t been able to cry, but now that the case has settled, I think maybe I can release my tears at last.”  Saying so, she smiled for the first time. (MATSUMOTO Chie)

入 社わずか2ヶ月で亡くなった社員の死は、「24時間365日死ぬまで働け」という会社の理念が引き起こした長時間労働が原因だった、などとしてワタミ株式 会社と元代表取締役の渡邉美樹らを提訴した過労自死裁判が、丸2年の和解協議を経て終結した。遺族と、裁判闘争を支援した全国一般東京東部労組の全面勝利 だった。「渡邉氏は最初から労組を嫌っていました。私たちだけでは途方に暮れたことも、東部労組と仲間がいたおかげで大きく勇気づけられました」。裁判原 告となった森豪さんは、12月8日、厚労省での記者会見でそう語った。母・祐子さんは、「できれば時計を戻したい。娘がワタミに就職をしたい、と言ったと きに何としても止めるべきだったと後悔している。生きているうちに助け出してやれなかったことは、死ぬまで後悔するだろう」。そして最後に「これまで涙が 出ることはなかったけれど、これでやっと泣けるようになるかも」。そう言って、はじめて笑顔を見せた。(松元ちえ) 

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