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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 June 28 - July 4  > IBM Japan workers win unpaid back wages
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2017 June 28 - July 4 [LABOR]

IBM Japan workers win unpaid back wages

June 29, 2017
In a lawsuit filed by 17 unionized IBM Japan workers seeking court recognition of the company’s policy imposing 10-15% wage cuts on workers as illegal, the company on June 27 accepted a court-mediated settlement in the Tokyo District Court.

In the settlement, IBM Japan promised the plaintiffs to restore their wage levels to their original state and make a payment covering the reduced earnings.

At a press conference held after the court-mediated settlement, head of the plaintiffs’ group Ishihara Takayuki said, “It is great that we won reinstatement of our original wages in addition to the recovery of unpaid wages. We will keep fighting to put an end to the outrageous wage reduction policy.”

IBM Japan in 2013 unilaterally introduced a system of reducing wages of workers in the bottom 15% in terms of relative performance evaluations by 10-15% on an annual basis. However, under the Labor Standards Act, employers are allowed to decrease their employees’ wages by up to 10% as a punitive measure.

Later in the year, among IBM workers whose wages were unjustly reduced, nine workers, who are members of the Japan Metal, Manufacturing, Information and Telecommunication Workers’ Union (JMITU, formerly JMIU) IBM Japan Branch, filed a lawsuit claiming that the company’s policy is illegal. The nine workers in the lawsuit also demanded that IBM pay reduced earnings in back wages and withdraw its arbitrary wage reduction system.

In November 2015, IBM Japan fully accepted the nine plaintiffs’ claim and issued a cognitive note which is tantamount to finalization of the court’s decision in favor of the plaintiffs. However, the company compensated the nine workers for the loss of their earnings but neglected to reinstate their original wages. As a result, in February 2016, together with the nine JMITU members, eight union workers who also suffered unfair wage cuts took the company to court, making the same demand as in the previous lawsuit.

Past related article:
> IBM Japan surrenders in lawsuit over unjust wage cuts [November 28, 2015]
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