Zenkyo protest with strong indignation that ‘work-style reform’ legislation was forced passage

Zenkyo will declare that intent to protest with strong indignation in PM Abe’s tyrannical administration and continue to struggle seeking Repeal of the package of “work-style reform” bills.

Prime Minister Abe termed this ordinary Diet session a “parliamentary session on work-style reform” and submitted the package of “work-style reform” bills to the Diet. And the legislation, PM Abe regards top priority to the enactment, became law on June 29 at the Upper House plenary session by the majority vote of the Liberal Democratic, Komei, and “Ishin no Kai” parties. PM Abe acknowledges that it is based on a strong request from the financial circles, such as answering that “I got an opinion that “high-level professionals” system should be introduced from Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) Chair” at a house of Councilors labor committee meeting. By eliminating the concept of overtime, virtually employers will not be obliged to grasp the worker’s working hours. The “high-level professionals” system which is synonymous with promoting death from overwork will be established. PM Abe said that he would not repeat the tragedy of death from overwork again, regarding employee of Dentsu, Takahashi Matsuri’s overwork suicide. Nonetheless, PM Abe did not listen to the appeal of Bereaved families of workers who died from overwork (karoshi), saying “Please never force passage the package of “work-style reform” bills that contradicts karoshi prevention law”, and he forcibly established these bills by the majority vote. If it goes on like this, Labor Standards Act to protect workers will be watered down by these bills. Zenkyo will declare that intent to protest with strong indignation in PM Abe’s tyrannical administration endangering the lives of students learning while working and children who are future workers, as well as parents of children.

During Diet deliberations on the bills, the government explained that the package of “work-style reform” bills will “meet workers’ needs”, workers’ performance will “be evaluated by their results, not by the length of hours they work”, and workers “can autonomously work”. However, problems related to this legislation were revealed one after another since its draft was submitted. For example, if employers give workers a 104-day holiday for a year, they can have workers woke for 24 hours a day, 48 days in a row. Mr. Heizo Takenaka, chairman of Pasona temporary staffing agency, said “It is also ridiculous as a general theory that a company pays subsidies we call overtime money for people, with low productivity, who cannot finish their work in time”, “We are also expecting that an application target of the system will be expanded.” It is obvious that this law is terrible.

The government drafted the package of “work-style reform” bills based on the work-hour survey data, but it was found that the large amounts of data concerning the survey have been falsified and concealed. As a result, Prime Minister Abe was forced to give up the expansion of the discretionary work system. Under such circumstances, the submission of the package of bills itself has been called into question. Moreover, the Abe administration had no choice but to attach 47-item supplementary resolution such as “Employers should not demand results or workloads that deprive workers of their discretion by utilizing “high-level professionals” system” and “Ensure that the making worse general workers’ treatment due to establish the “equal pay for equal work” principle is against the purpose of revision, is widely disseminated.” by opposition party’s debate in the Diet and the struggle of the workers. These facts prove, how nonsensical this law which did not have reason, logic, and consistency.

From now on, public-private cooperation is necessary not to have the government enforce ceiling on overtime hours such as for karoshi and “high-level professionals” system. Also, it is important to struggle not to tolerate expanding the scope of business and reducing standard annual income to “high-level professionals” system, and expanding an application target of the discretionary work system.

In schools, long working hours impose on teachers great hardships both physically and mentally, so it’s difficult for them to concentrate on the education of children with spare time. It will become difficult to seek the realization of a society where we can live well if we work for 8 hours by the establishment of the package of “work-style reform” bills. It is also obvious that the establishment of the bills run counter to the spirit of the law, for teachers, which doesn’t order overtime as a general.

Zenkyo will continue to struggle seeking Repeal of the package of “work-style reform” bills, and at the same time we rally determined to struggle with our utmost effort to protect the life and health of all teachers.

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