Defeat the "Zero Overtime Pay" Bill! Stop karoshi and regulate working hours

It seems that the Abe government's goal is to make Japan "the world's easiest country to do business in". And so the notorious "white-collar exemption", already rejected once, has come up yet again. Presumably as a part of this, a debate has already begun at the Labor Policy Council within the Welfare and Labor Ministry over a new system, one that would drastically loosen the Labor Standards Law regulations on working hours, and would have wages decided not by hours worked, but by results achieved.

 At the special session of the Diet due to begin on September 29, and then at next year's regular session, there is a dangerous possibility that the rules protecting workers by regulating working hours will disappear, and that the checks on making employees work long hours for "zero overtime" will collapse. The problem is still not getting strong interest from the general public. It will be vital to get the word out to the public during the present Diet session about what is wrong with this bill, and make sure that public opinion opposing the deregulation plan becomes visible.

Come to the Assembly to "STOP!! Zero Overtime!"

And so, an assembly called "STOP!! Zero Overtime!" is going to be held at L Theater on October 7th. It is organized jointly by eight different groups of lawyers, including the Osaka Lawyers' Union for Labor. The catchphrase for the assembly is: instead of sacrificing workers' life and health with "zero overtime", we need stronger regulation of working hours to realize "zero karoshi"! A situation report, including the progress of discussions at the Labor Policy Council, will be given by Takagi Taro from the Labor Lawyers' Association of Japan. Morioka Koji of the Osaka Liaison Council on the Karoshi Problem will give a talk to expose the lie of "a new working-hours system". There are also plans to report complaints directly from the workplace. There is no fee to participate, and no application is necessary, so we would like to call on all the various unions to come out and join in. Each union is asked to bring their union banner.

Joint Street Protest Action

Also, there has been a call from the Osaka Union of Lawyers for Labor for "a series of street demonstration actions in opposition to the amendment to deregulate working hours, etc." It is planned to take place in business areas within the city on October 6th(Mon.) and 21st(Tue.) and on November 6(Thur.) and 21st(Fri.), each from 12:00 to 1 p.m. As they will be in the daytime on weekdays, probably only a limited number of people will be able to participate; but it is a positive proposal from the lawyers' group, and as labor unions, it seems we should do whatever we can. Anyway, whether it's this labor law issue, or the Official Secrets Law, or collective self-defense, these days it seems a bit pathetic from a union point of view that lawyer's groups have been ahead of us in taking action on all of these.

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