We demand thorough-going Diet deliberation in response to temporary agency workers' pressing demands
Statement by Zenroren Secretary General ODAGAWA Yoshikazu
May 24, 2010
The government and the ruling Democratic Party of Japan have reportedly decided to hold the House of Councilors election on July 11 without extending the current ordinary session of the Diet, while at the same time getting the bill to revise the Worker Dispatch Law enacted by the end of the session in mid June.
This means that they intend to allot only a short time to the deliberation of the bill to revise the Worker Dispatch Law, raising concerns that the Diet will not be given sufficient time to discuss problems and amendments. The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) has demanded legislation to fundamentally revise the Worker Dispatch Law to eliminate labor practices of firing temporary agency workers before the expiration of contracts and of using temporary agency workers in a guise of independent contractors. We strongly oppose such an undemocratic steering of the Diet.
On April 16, the bill was presented in the plenary session of the House of Representatives, followed by interpellations. But, due to arbitrary Diet steering by the ruling Democratic Party and the opposition Liberal Democratic Party's boycott, no real debate was held after about two hours were spent on April 23 on a discussion, in which ruling party members used their question time. Even this short question and answer session helped to reveal that the government proposal is far from a fundamental revision.
Whatfs more, ruling party lawmakers repeatedly demanded that the use of temporary agency workers be allowed in a wider range of gprofessionalh job categories. There is a danger that the government will extend the range just by issuing an ordinance. The need now is for the Diet to hold a thorough-going deliberation based on the actual situation, in order to prevent the government bill, which calls for temporary agency workers to be protected, from becoming a deceptive advertisement.
Since the publication of the government bill, trade unions as well as workers, who were denied the renewal of their contracts as temporary workers, have voiced their opposition to it, saying, gIt will not help solve problems of temporary workers. It will not end dismissals of contract renewals.h Judicial circles engaging in lawsuits against arbitrary dismissals of temporary workers are also deeply concerned about the bill.
Zenroren has called for changes in the bill to be made regarding several points, including the following: (1) the government bill calls for gbanning in principleh the use of temporary agency workers for manufacturing jobs and abolishing the use of temporary workers on an on-call basis. But it has significant loopholes since about 80 percent would be exempt; (2) the bill includes a system that requires the employer illegally using temporary agency workers to treat them as its employees, but without changing wages and other conditions of employment; (3) in saying that it will take into account equilibrium, the bill turns its back on the principle of equal treatment; (4) the bill will remove a part of the company's obligation to offer a position under its direct employment to a worker who has worked more than three years as a temporary agency worker, which is a regression to the policy of the former government led by the Liberal Democratic and New Komeito parties; and (5) the bill shelves the call for the number of job categories permitted to hire temporary agency workers, currently 26, to be reduced. We have called for concrete amendments to the government bill.
In the 2009 House of Representatives general election, votersf growing anger at the government gstructural reformh policy was translated into a vote to remove the Liberal Democratic and New Komeito parties from power. The workers and the general public are strongly want an end to arbitrary dismissals of temporary agency workers, brakes on the moves leading to the labor market collapse, and a stable employment situation.
If only short time is given to Diet deliberations on the bill to revise the Worker Dispatch Law, it is likely that the Diet will forgo intensive deliberations with the attendance of the prime minister, Diet hearings and local public hearings. The government would repeat voting without adequate discussions and without amending the bill. If the Diet railroads the bill through the Diet without listening to the voices of those who were fired as temporary agency workers and without them being reflected in the bill, workers and the general public will not be able to win their wishes. The ruling parties as well as opposition parties are called upon to work together and take sufficient time to ensure that the Diet will discuss the important bill.
Zenroren demands that the serious voices of temporary agency workers be embraced and that the Diet deliberate it fully so that the government bill will be overhauled. We will step up our efforts to further increase common action in the movement together with the wide ranging unions and civic organizations.