Friday, September 8, 2017

Towards a Society Where Everyone Can Live Off an 8-Hour Work Day ~ Abe’s Bill to Revise the Labor Standards Act Spark Protests In Front of the Diet

On the afternoon of August 19th, demonstrators gathered in front of the Diet Members’ Office Building in Tokyo to oppose Prime Minister ABE Shinzo’s labor reform initiatives—including the so-called “zero overtime pay” bill—which the Diet is set to deliberate on this fall. Organized by the Labour Lawyers Association of Japan, the demonstrations—which lasted for about an hour—saw many people and groups like Rengo, Zenroren and Zeryoko come together despite differences. Members of Union Mie invited local labor unions in Mie Prefecture to join the action, sending a bus of 25 union members to take part in the demonstrations in Tokyo. Placards bearing the words, “Towards a Society Where Everyone Can Live Off an 8-Hour Work Day,” stood out at the protests. “The government is trying to deliberate the bill to revise the Labor Standards Act along with bills pertaining to white-collar overtime exemption and equal pay for equal work among others, all at once,” said NATSUME Ichiro, one of the attorneys who organized the protests. “It’s ridiculous how the government is lumping bad laws with good ones. We need to reject these efforts and demand the government deliberate each bill one by one.” Attorney ICHIHASHI, a member of an attorney team dealing with clients who have been victimized by exploitative companies, criticized the move: “The characteristics of exploitative companies are long working hours and not paying for overtime work.  The bill to revise the Labor Standards Act will not only further these practices, but will justify them.”  (M)



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