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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 24 - 30  > Joint efforts of JCP and labor union overturn denial of workers’ compensation benefits
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2018 January 24 - 30 [LABOR]

Joint efforts of JCP and labor union overturn denial of workers’ compensation benefits

January 24, 2018
Pushed by joint efforts made by Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Nihi Sohei and a trade union, the Labor Ministry recently announced that it will withdraw its decision to deny public workers’ compensation for latent occupational diseases filed by privatized postal and railway service workers.

This announcement was made in the third-round of negotiations that JCP Upper House member Nihi and the All Japan Construction, Transport and General Workers’ Union (CTG or Kenkoro) Kyushu branch held on January 19 with the Labor Ministry.

The Kenkoro Kyushu branch has worked to support postal workers’ struggle to overturn a dismissal of their workers’ compensation claims. The negotiation began in December 2016 when the union asked Nihi for cooperation.

Postal workers in question claimed workers’ compensation for vibration-induced damage which was caused from the delivering of mail by motorbike, but was met a denial. The reason for the denial was that as they engaged in the delivery job before and after the postal privatization, it is hard to specify when they developed the symptoms.

Meanwhile, when the government-owned postal corporation was privatized in October 2007, the Labor Ministry issued a directive which stated that even after the privatization, workers doing the same job as before the privatization are entitled to be covered by the public sector workers’ compensation program.

In the bargaining sessions, Nihi and Kenkoro demanded that the ministry recognize that workers developed symptoms at the time when they received a diagnosis. In the January 19 session, the ministry accepted the demand.

A similar situation was seen in workers of national railway services which were privatized in 1987. After the privatization, former national railway workers who suffered latent occupational ill health effects such as vibration-induced disorders, hearing loss, and low back pain filed workers’ compensation claims. Their claims, however, were turned down.
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