Monday, August 13, 2007

Working in Japan?

Work rules that employers can create unilaterally and change at will. The essence of the draft of the “Labor contract law,” prepared by the ministry of Welfare and Labor to be submitted to the current Diet session, is to make these work rules into “labor contracts.”

...the number of disputes between individual workers and employers has increased, so the Ministry view is that the contractual rules between company and worker need to be clarified.

....The proposed law would apply to all aspects of employment contracts from hiring to retirement, seconding to related firms, or shifting a worker’s contract to another firm. Particular emphasis is placed on consolidating rules concerning “changes in labor conditions.” (From a Japan Focus article "A contract law that "enslaves" Japanese working people, by Suda Mitsuteru. You can read it HERE.)

And you can bet your last yen that in Japan that those "clarified" rules will always favor the employer. (No doubt it is heading that way in the US, but not so far, and not so fast. And it never started from the same point an of employer-favored environment anyway.)

Although this legislation has not yet been approved, it should worry anyone working in Japan. And after my experiences at 2 of my previous workplaces in Japan, the worst* of which was that eikaiwa company starting with a "B" and ending with "z" and spelled B-e-r-l-i-t-z, I am very concerned. This new law seems to mean that the company can do what it wants to a very large degree. What are you going to do about it---sue? In Japan? Got 20 years to wait and even if you do win, get an award of an absurdly small amount of money that wouldn't even cover 1/2 the legal expenses?

The author goes on to explain that the new law will mean that work rules will be entirely decided by the company unless they violate the law or a current contract (and as explained in the article, that latter exception may not be ironclad). All they need do is ask an opinion from the employees. It makes no difference what the opinion is, nor whether 100% object. As long as they ask for an opinion, that is all that will be needed.

*I wrote earlier about some of the experiences I (and others) had at Berlitz. In actuality, they needed change work rules as they tended to ignore them anyway if they thought they could get away with it.

No comments:

Post a Comment