Temporary and fixed-term contract workers at Isuzu Motors join Zenroren
As job cuts sweep the country and one large corporation after another is announcing that it will not renew contracts with contingent workers when their current contracts expire, temporary and fixed-term contract workers at Isuzu Motors have formed their union to fight dismissals.
Isuzu Motors Tochigi Plant in Tochigi Prefecture on November 17 announced that it would lay off its 156 fixed-term contract workers and 274 temporary workers on December 26, as part of a plan to cut 1,400 jobs launched by the Isuzu Motors headquarters.
On the evening of December 3, temporary and fixed-term contract workers at Isuzu Motor Tochigi Plant announced the establishment of their union with the All-Japan Metal and Information Machinery Workersf Union (JMIU, Zenroren affiliate) representing. The new union made it clear that they will press Isuzu to withdraw their dismissals.
The unionfs start-up meeting in Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Prefecture, drew more than 30 reporters from mainstream TV networks and national papers.
JMIU Isuzu Branch Chair Matumoto Hirotoshi said, gI never imagined that I would be laid off. We have launched the union because we cannot but fight the outrageous layoffs. I love the job assigned to me, and we are firmly determined. We want to continue to work as a full-time worker.h
Early on the next morning, members of the newly created union and their supporters stood in front of the main gate to the Isuzu Motors Tochigi Plant to distribute handouts to workers and call on them to join the union.
At 9 a.m. the same day, JMIU Isuzu Motors Branch members notified Isuzu management of the founding of the union. The two sides exchanged a memorandum stating that Isuzu recognize the JMIU Isuzu Motors branch, eliminate unfair labor practices, and agree to hold collective bargaining.
At 10 a.m., the union requested the Utsunomiya District Court to impose an injunction against the recent dismissals by Isuzu Motors and order the company to pay the two fixed-term contract workers, who were dismissed before the end of their contract terms, for the rest of their contract terms.
After filing for an injunction, their lawyer Sumi Kenfichiro held a news conference and said that Clause 1, Article 17 of the Labor Contract Law prevents employers from dismissing workers before the date of expiry of contract.
Although Isuzu Motors is slumping, it still expects to make 60 billion yen in profits in the 2008 business year and to give its shareholders 1.7 billion yen in dividends. There is no reason for labor to accept Isuzufs dismissal plan ostensibly to scale back its production plan due to rapidly shrinking demand.
At Isuzu Motors Fujisawa Plant in Kanagawa Prefecture, three fixed-term contract workers and members of JMIU Isuzu branch filed for an injunction with the Yokohama District Court against their dismissals.
2,000 people held a rally calling for Worker Dispatch Law to be revised
Union members, lawyers, and citizens on December 4 together held a rally calling for a fundamental revision of the Worker Dispatch Law. About 2,000 participants included temporary workers.
In the rally, representatives of four opposition parties including, the Japanese Communist, Democratic, Social Democratic, and Peoplefs New parties spoke and called on the participants to work together to achieve the fundamental revision of the Worker Dispatch Law.
Speakers included a representative of the All-Japan Metal and Information Machinery Workersf Union Isuzu Motors branch, a worker worked as day laborer, and temporary workers who are sending to big corporations including Panasonic and Oita Canon. They called for improvement of their working conditions and voiced their demand that the Worker Dispatch Law fundamentally revised and that the government take urgent emergency steps to prevent employers from carrying out eHakengiri (layoff and refusal to renew contract for temporary workers)f. (Zenroren, December 15, 2008)