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Court tells newspaper to reinstate employee’s original work hours

Date Posted: 2008-06-26

Miyako Mainichi newspaper company, which last spring changed an employee’s work schedule without asking him, has been ordered to return the man to the original working hours.

Junji Ongawa, an employee at the newspaper, always worked Monday through Friday, eight hours each day. In March the Miyako Mainichi changed his schedule, switching him to a six-day work week, seven hours each day. Ongawa protested, telling his employer he didn’t want the change, and was told “this is only temporary, not for a long time.” A loyal employee, Ongawa agreed “if it’s just temporary, I can accept the change.”

The newspaper didn’t restore the original working hours, so the 44-year-old Ongawa took the case to court. He told the Naha District Court “we are the newspaper company, and we need to show the public we are doing the right things. I want the company to be straight, not do bad things, and be a bright company.”

The judge agreed, saying “the company should listen to workers’ opinions, and it should withdraw the change of daily hours, and the days off, too.” Ongawa is returning now to his eight-hour shifts Monday through Friday.

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