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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 May 9 - 15  > JCP calls for work system in line with 8-hour workday principle
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2018 May 9 - 15 [LABOR]

JCP calls for work system in line with 8-hour workday principle

May 12, 2018

The Japanese Communist Party on May 11 held a press conference and published a proposal calling for a work system based on the eight-hour workday to counter the Abe government’s move to meet the business circle’s demand for labor deregulation.

The Abe government at the end of April forcibly began Diet deliberations on a package of “work-style reform” bills and seeks to enact the bills in the current session of the Diet. The major pillar of the package is to revise the Labor Standards Act with the aim of introducing a “high-level professionals” system, a 100-hour-a-month cap on overtime, and other measures to ease work hour regulations.

At the press conference, JCP Vice Chair Yamashita Yoshiki, who also takes charge of the JCP taskforce to oppose the government’s “work-style” reform, criticized the government sponsored-bills for leading to aggravating the present exploitative situation that allows for excessively long working hours which increases the risk of deaths from overwork (karoshi). Yamashita said that the JCP proposal aims to scrap the government-proposed “work-style” reforms and instead realize a work system in line with the eight-hour workday principle.

The main focus in the JCP proposal is to push the government to withdraw its plan to introduce the “high-level professionals” system which excludes workers engaged in highly-paid specialist jobs such as financial brokers and researchers from overtime pay rules. The JCP proposal also focuses on revising the Labor Standards Act to limit overtime to 15 hours a week, 45 hours a month, and 360 hours a year.

Furthermore, the JCP in its proposal calls for tighter rules on the use of the discretionary work system under which workers are paid for the previously agreed upon work hours and not for actual hours worked; the introduction of an interval system ensuring for workers a consecutive 11-hour rest between the end of a day’s work and the beginning of the next day’s work; and the imposition of obligation on employers to accurately record the actual number of hours that each worker worked in a given week.

In addition, the JCP proposal seeks to tighten rules regarding workplace harassment, including power and sexual harassment, and amend relevant laws in order to eliminate inequalities between regular and non-regular workers as well as between men and women.

Yamashita said, “The Abe administration manipulated work-hour survey data and concealed the overwork-induced suicide committed by a Nomura Real Estate worker. Such a government is not qualified to discuss ‘work-style’ reforms. We’ll deliver our work-style proposal to other opposition parties, trade unions, and concerned citizens, and utilize the proposal to strengthen joint efforts to kill the pro-business work-style package.”

Past related articles:
> JCP will work to foil PM Abe’s pro-business ‘work-style reform’ scheme [April 8, 2018]
> Labor Ministry hides real estate worker’s case of overwork-induced suicide [April 6, 2018]
> JCP publishes counterproposal to Abe’s ‘work-style’ reform [March 4, 2017]
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