We protest against start of discussion on bill to adversely revise law on the use of temporary agency workers
November 7, 2014
National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
The ruling coalition [the Liberal Democratic Komeito parties] on November 7 abused the power of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on labor affairs chairman to begin discussing a major adverse revision to the “Worker Dispatch Law” with Prime Minister ABE Shinzo attending, even though all opposition parties refused to attend in protest.
We protest against the gross violation of parliamentary democracy.
On October 31, Komeito, the junior ruling coalition partner, abruptly proposed amendments to the bill in the board of directors meeting that was held in preparation for a committee meeting to discuss the bill, revealing that the introduced bill is totally defective. Nevertheless, the “amendments” were withdrawn without any concrete explanation, paving the way for the committee chairman to convene the meeting to discuss it on November 5, in defiance of protests.
Note that today’s (Nov. 7) meeting, which was the occasion for the prime minister’s attendance, was held only by ruling party members.
In the November 5 committee meeting, labor minister SHIOZAKI Yasuhisa made incorrect remarks in answer to questions. He had to apologize for the mistakes he made at the latest meeting so that the deliberation can take place. That’s why the convening of the meeting in defiance of the opposition’s protest was unacceptable in the light of parliamentary democracy. The opposition parties had reason to protest and walk out.
The amended text proposed by Komeito said, “The bill should provide that the measure takes into account the principle that the use of temporary agency workers must be temporary” It also said, “The provisions of the revised law will be reviewed without delay based on the labor market’s conditions after the new law comes into effect.” This proposal reveals that the ruling coalition partner is concerned that the principle that temporary agency workers must not be used as substitutes for permanent workers might be abandoned and that employers might rush to replace permanent employees with temporary agency workers.
We have been critical of the proposed bill as a measure to force people to work as temporary workers in life and eliminate permanent employees. We now recognize that some within the ruling coalition share this concern.
Now that a coalition partner has virtually admitted that the proposed bill is defective, it should be withdrawn for the sake of parliamentary democracy.
The ruling parties are reportedly poised to railroad through the bad bill next week in the House of Representatives. We are determined to join forces to stop the recklessness.
At issue now is whether we allow our society to allow temporary agency workers to be used as throwaway workforce and accept the practice as commonplace or we should create a positive growth cycle in Japan that will help protect the lives and human rights of working people and their families and expand domestic demand by ensuring a stable job market. The government economic policy is much criticized even by media as one of inviting another economic recession.
Zenroren will work harder to join forces with various forces to do all we can to get the bad labor bill scrapped.