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Drivers turn to union for help against company

Date Posted: 2008-05-30

A group of company drivers, disgruntled by their treatment by their company’s leadership, has turned to the Uminchu Union Okinawa for a helping hand.

The Uminchu Union Okinawa has carried the drivers’ case to the Okinawa Prefecture Workers Committee, explaining the company refuses to even meet with drivers to listen to them or discuss grievances. The company drivers staged a strike in February, but that didn’t get the company’s attention, either.

Drivers say the company owner won’t talk with the union. The union says the company made a contract with the workers, but as a “business trust agreement” that does not treat them as company workers. The drivers, the union says, are treated like private businessmen, not like salaried employees, and the workers can’t form a workers’ union or even conduct group negotiations.

Workers say the company has bullied them, taking its cars away from the union workers, and not giving any jobs to those who participated in the strike. The union says the company is also trying to bully their union, too. The Prefecture Workers Union committee secretary, Shinichi Minema, says “the company is not having discussions with workers, and that means the company is disregarding the Labor Standards Law.” Minema says “we think it’s time to take the company to the court.”

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