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'Arisan Mark' moving firms mistreated workers: Tokyo labor commission

Three firms in the "Arisan Mark" moving company group committed unfair labor practices, the Tokyo Metropolitan Labor Relations Commission recognized on Aug. 23.

    The commission found that the three firms had committed inappropriate workplace acts such as assigning a 36-year-old salesman to be "in charge of the shredder," as well as encouraging employees to leave the labor union. "Arisan Mark" is the trade name of Hikkoshisha Co. group.

    The commission then ordered all three firms to include text on "trying to ensure that unfair labor acts are not repeated" in the company newsletter, and then distribute copies of the newsletter to the homes of all employees. According to a statement by the labor union "Precariat Union" at an Aug. 23 press conference in Tokyo, ordering a company to send out an in-house newsletter to every single worker is extremely rare.

    According to documents released by the commission, in 2015 Hikkoshisha Co., Hikkoshisha Kanto and Hikkoshisha Kansai paid employees to leave the labor union. In addition, a male employee was unfairly transferred from his role at Hikkoshisha Kanto for arriving late to work. Furthermore, the same male employee was punitively dismissed for "defaming the company" -- although this was later retracted -- and a written "plea" that included a photo of the man's face and the reason for his dismissal was put on display in the company.

    At the Aug. 23 press conference, the male employee said, "I'm happy. Hopefully this will lead to an improved work environment." Meanwhile, Hikkoshisha Kanto told the Mainichi Shimbun, "We have not fully grasped the content of the (commission's) order, and will therefore refrain from commenting."

    In May this year, the male employee and Hikkoshisha Kanto reached a settlement out of Tokyo District Court, with the company apologizing and the employee being allowed to return to his sales position.

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