After a man turned himself into police for refusing to pay for his meal, some wondered if he might be mentally ill. On the other hand, some suspect he might be saner than many in Japan.
On November 18 a young woman was spotted on the streets of Shenzhen City in Guangdong, China carrying a sign which read: “Overnight and overtime work has made me into an old lady. Both my love and work lives are miserable. I request approval for workers’ compensation.”
It was an unusual yet straightforward demand that triggered debate and reflection on the state of working conditions in the country.
It’s a sad predicament when those who work to provide people with things such as food and shelter are also those who are the most overworked and underpaid. For example, The Topiary, a condominium under construction in the Sengkang area of Singapore, made the news for their treatment of the 200 or so workers who had to spend their nights in a cramped, rat-infested basement of a parking garage.
That’s why the future occupants of The Topiary took it upon themselves to show these builders, many of whom came from other countries such as India, how they felt. They surprised the workers, bearing gifts and signs which read “Thank you for building our home.”
During an interview at his Kyoto headquarters this week, Nidec Corporation CEO Shigenobu Nagamori was quoted as saying, “Due to Japan’s strict labor laws, we cannot compete with enterprises in Korea and China.” He intends to lobby the government to relax labor regulations to allow for more flexible working conditions.
He additionally said that the government and the Bank of Japan need to weaken and maintain the yen to around a 90-100 yen to the dollar exchange rate in order for Japanese export companies to compete with booming exports from China and Korea. Read More
With just one week left to vote for the most evil employer of 2012, we’d like to shed some light on an overlooked “black corporation” – city governments. Sure, government workers often get a bad rap as being slow and overpaid with ridiculous job security. But in the words of Bob Dylan “the times they are a-changing.”
In Osaka, government workers will be forbidden to have any tattoos and a drinking ban is in talks for all the city workers of Fukuoka. But to really see the slippery slope that these labor reforms can lead to, we should turn our attention to the People’s Republic of China.