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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 September 26 - October 2  > NHK ‘contract staff’ recognized as 'worker' as specified in Labor Union Law
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2018 September 26 - October 2 [LABOR]

NHK ‘contract staff’ recognized as 'worker' as specified in Labor Union Law

September 29, 2018

The Tokyo District Court on September 28 issued a ruling recognizing self-employed “contractors” engaged in going door-to-door collecting NHK’s fee as “workers” specified in the Labor Union Law. The court also ruled that NHK’s refusal to negotiate with a union for NHK contract staff is an unfair labor practice.

The union’s battle started in June 2010 after the union was met with hostility at a NHK affiliate company carrying out sales, marketing, and fee collection. The union requested NHK to hold collective negotiations on this issue. However, Japan’s sole public broadcaster refused to respond to the union’s request by insisting that as contract staff are not “workers”, their organization is not a “labor union”.

Labor relations commissions at the national and local levels in 2015 and 2016 judged that NHK conducted an unfair labor practice. The public broadcaster appealed to the Tokyo District Court against these decisions.

The district court overruled the NHK’s objection and ordered it to negotiate with the union by stating that judging from actual labor practice, NHK fee contractors have worker status under the Labor Union Law.

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