Postal Industry Workers Union Scores Major Victory For Contract Workers In Tokyo Superior Court

The Tokyo High Court, 2nd Civil Division (Judge Ayako Shiraishi presiding) has handed down a ruling in the "Postal-Workers' Labor-Contract-Law Article 20 East-Japan Case", in which three limited-term employees (Postal Industry Workers’ Union members), have been fighting as plaintiffs.

The Postal Industry Workers' Union has been actively organizing both regular and non-regular employees to seek elimination of disparities in working conditions. 

This verdict is the fruit of a movement in which regular and non-regular workers fought all together as one.

A Verdict Even Better than the District Court
On December 13, one year and three months after the District Court verdict that gave all three of them a victory, the High Court upheld all the union members’ claims and ordered Japan Post to pay them even more in compensation than what had been ordered by the lower court.

Of the working conditions for which the plaintiffs sought correction of disparities, the Tokyo High Court ordered payment of compensation for the year-end and New Year holiday work allowance, the housing allowance, and sick leave - a total of 1,676,780 yen.

After the Tokyo District Court, the Tokyo High Court has also found that not giving the workers summer and winter holidays or paid sick leave was an unreasonable difference, and has given a ruling even better than that of the District Court that advances the cause of equal treatment.

Housing Allowance, Etc., To Be Paid in Full
The District Court decision awarded partial payment, 60% of the housing allowance and 80% of the holiday work allowance.

However, the High Court verdict - like that of the Osaka District Court in the West Japan case - did away with partial payment.

Compensation Upheld for Sick Leave
Furthermore, compensation for paid sick leave was granted by this ruling. This is the first decision to grant this in any of the Article-20 cases being fought across the country.

"Incentive" Denied
The defendant company claimed as a reason for the disparities that they were “giving an incentive for longer-term employment”.

However, the words “incentive for longer-term employment” as a reason to accept disparities were deleted from the text of the verdict. The company’s position was de facto not accepted. This is another point on which the High Court ruling is to be evaluated highly.

Further Progress
Unfortunately, compensation was not granted for bonuses - in which the disparities are large - or for early-shift and other allowances.

However, this remains an epoch-making “total victory” that will be very influential, not only for non-regular employees working for the Postal Service, but for all non-regular workers. 

Let us take power from this ruling, win even more progress in next month’s West-Japan High Court verdict, continue moving forward for equal treatment and elimination of disparity, and keep up a great movement starting with our workplaces.

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