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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 August 20 - 26  > Local bus service operator works drivers hard and outsources its service
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2014 August 20 - 26 [LABOR]

Local bus service operator works drivers hard and outsources its service

August 22, 2014
Akahata on August 22 reported on a local bus operator promoting the use of low-paid and outsourced drivers and neglecting to pay overtime and nightshift premiums and even to fulfill its withholding-tax obligations.

Teisan-Konan-Kotsu is a bus service operator in Shiga Prefecture. Judging from its bus routes, the number of drivers required should be about 160. In actuality, the company has only 30 drivers under full-time employment. It has put off hiring more full-time drivers for the last 15 years.

Instead, it consigns its bus service to Teisankanko-Bus-Shiga, one of its group companies. Drivers of Teisankanko-Bus-Shiga receive only 60-70% of Teisan-Konan-Kotsu drivers’ wages.

Teisankanko-Bus-Shiga rehires 62-year-old drivers who retired from Teisan-Konan-Kotsu and forces them to work for 1,000 yen per hour on the same route as they drove before and for the same number of hours as full-time drivers. It no longer provides them with extra pay for driving without a conductor. It neither pays social insurance contributions which are supposed to cover those who work more than 20 hours a week nor withholds the correct amount of taxes from their pay.

The Teisan-Konan-Kotsu workers’ union negotiated with the group company about reemployed drivers’ complaints but it was unsuccessful.

Head of the union Yagihashi Kiyotomo said to an Akahata reporter, “With an increase in the number of hourly-paid and outsourced drivers, full-time drivers’ working conditions continue to worsen.”

In June, one driver worked two shifts in one day in order to fill in for another driver. After doing this for three consecutive days, he was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.

Another incident occurred during late-night service when a bus broke down. However, the company could not dispatch another vehicle because of the shortage of drivers, and left the passengers stranded all night.

The union is now stepping up its activities to unionize reemployed drivers. The union head said, “Beyond the differences in salary, we will struggle to establish decent working conditions.”
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