The only relief is that they can take paid holidays”… “Non-regular civil servants” suffer from the hardship of being terminated after a maximum of three years of employment. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The only relief is that they can take paid holidays”… “Non-regular civil servants” suffer from the hardship of being terminated after a maximum of three years of employment.

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Hello Work counselors fear annual “hiring freeze” at the end of the fiscal year

Many of the “fiscal year appointment employees,” non-regular local government employees working for local governments nationwide, may have been “terminated” at the end of March of this year. This is because the appointment system was introduced in April 2008 and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has indicated in its manual that “in principle, non-regular employees may be reappointed no more than twice” and many local governments have set the maximum employment period at three years.

For example, according to the Hokkaido Shimbun, there are more than 1,000 fiscal-year appointees in Sapporo City, whose term of appointment expired at the end of March. Combined with other major cities in Hokkaido, the number is estimated to exceed 4,000.

The National Network for Non-regular Women in Public Service “Hamnet” conducted a questionnaire survey of fiscal-year appointees nationwide to find out what had happened to local governments, and received more than 500 responses by June 18.

A Hello Work consultant said the reality is that “about 80% of the workplaces are non-regular consultants, and the remaining 20% are regular employees” (Photo: AFLO).

However, it is not known how many fiscal year appointment employees have been hired by local governments nationwide, and it is not easy to hear the voices of those involved.

The term of office for fiscal year appointees is one year, and it is up to the local government to decide whether or not the contract will be renewed. It may be difficult for those who are in a situation where there is always the fear that they will not be hired in the future to raise their voices as a party to the situation.

Kota Hirai, an attorney who works on labor issues on the side of the workers, said this. Since January of this year, the Japan Labor Defense Lawyers Association (JLLAA) has been conducting a petition drive on its online petition site under the slogan “Stop Hiring Non-Regular Civil Servants.

In addition to the signature drive, the lawyers held a rally titled “STOP Hiring Non-regular Public Workers” in February. The meeting was broadcast on YouTube.

At the rally, we asked non-regular civil servants to talk about their actual situation online. However, to prevent individuals and workplaces from being identified, they spoke anonymously or only in audio.

A female Hello Work counselor who has been working as a non-regular employee for more than 10 years said at the meeting organized by the lawyers: “About 80% of the workers are non-regulars.

About 80% of the workers at Hello Work are non-regular counselors, and the remaining 20% are regular employees.

Every year, as a matter of course, at the beginning of the new year, the number of positions for the next fiscal year is announced, and it is decided who will be laid off and who will have their contracts renewed.

On the day this is announced at the site, you can hear the joyful voices of those whose contracts have been renewed right next to those who have been terminated. It is very cruel, and it is really painful to witness that scene every year, and it brings tears to my eyes because it is so unbearable. (Speaker at the rally)

Lawyer Hirai said.

The irregular workers at Hello Work are responsible for introducing quality jobs to the public, but their own jobs are very precarious. I think it’s just too unreasonable.”

Local government employees to whom the labor contract law does not apply…have no legal recourse to contest

A non-regular civil servant engaged in medical work commented at the meeting, After three years of work, I have to apply for a new interview with the local government. I would like to see a system in which knowledge and abilities are evaluated not on a fiscal year basis, but on the basis of continuous employment. He appealed to the public.

Lawyer Hirai continued.

Non-regular civil servants, regardless of their own abilities, are subject to termination of their employment based solely on the fact that they have worked for the company for three years.

If this were the case in the private sector, if a fixed-term employee has worked for three years with no problems at all, the employer cannot refuse to renew the contract unless there is an objectively reasonable reason. The employment continues in violation of Article 19 of the Labor Contract Law. But since local government employees are exempted from the Labor Contract Law, they have no effective means to legally fight for continued employment if they refuse to renew their contracts.

Those working on a non-regular basis should have the same level of legal protection and rights as those in the private sector, and we, the labor lawyers, believe that the legal system itself needs to be changed. We are working on a petition drive to demand this from the government.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ manual on the appointment system was revised last December, but it is “merely a manual and has no legal validity,” he said. If that were the case, municipalities would not have to stop hiring non-regular employees at the three-year limit.

The revised manual states, “The revised manual states, ‘The municipality shall endeavor to limit the reappointment of the same person to a maximum of two consecutive times. The current situation is that local governments are interpreting this as meaning that reappointments can only be made twice, and are voluntarily suspending employment after three years. The government should be more proactive in informing local governments that it is not necessary to terminate employment after three years.

The “indefinite turnover rule” exists for non-regular workers in the private sector, under which a fixed-term labor contract that has been renewed for more than five years can be converted to an indefinite labor contract at the request of the employee. What about the possibility of this rule being applied to local government employees?

The Japanese government and local governments have been downsizing the public sector through privatization, outsourcing, and reduction of regular civil servants. Since turning non-regular employees into regular employees means increasing the number of regular public servants, it may be unlikely that the current government will make it a policy to apply the rule of indefinite transfer. Nevertheless, we will continue to call for the implementation of the rule of indefinite conversion in order to protect the employment of non-regular public servants and prevent the deterioration of administrative services.”

Changes in the number of non-permanent employees in local governments (Table: Kyodo News)

Many non-regulars cry themselves to sleep because of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ manual, which has no legal basis.

As it stands, non-regular civil servants have no choice but to cry themselves to sleep.

“They are not protected by law, and the hurdle for fighting in court itself is high. Many are forced to choose to cry themselves to sleep.

However, it is important to do what we can do now to ensure employment stability for those who work on a non-regular basis. For example, I think it is possible to ask local governments, through labor unions, not to suspend employment without grounds.

A non-regular janitorial worker who spoke at the labor lawyers’ rally, “Even though they are doing the same work as regular employees, there is a two-fold difference in treatment,” he said. “Non-regular civil servants are not only being treated unfairly, they are also being treated unfairly. Non-regular civil servants are also frustrated by the irrational difference in treatment.

Non-regulars, who can be said to play a central role in the administrative services that support the lives of citizens, work day in and day out with very low treatment and are so easily disposable,” he said. It is impossible to provide adequate services under such conditions.

If the employment and treatment of non-regular public servants is not improved, we too will not be able to obtain good administrative services. If the employment and conditions of non-regular civil servants are not improved, we will not be able to receive good government services. The issue of non-regular civil servants is also an issue that greatly affects the lives of citizens.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, there were 690,000 non-regular local government employees as of 2008. Local governments are replacing regular employees with non-regular ones against a backdrop of financial difficulties. Will the number of non-regular civil servants without rights continue to increase in the future?

Kota Hirai is a lawyer. Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1991. Graduated from Rikkyo University Faculty of Law in ’14 and completed the University of Tokyo Law School in ’16. Registered as an attorney (Daini Tokyo Bar Association) in ’17.

  • Interview and text by Sayuri Saito PHOTO Afro

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