KOGA Says! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary

KOGA says!
Statement on Approval by the Diet of Bills Related to Public Personnel Systems

30 June 2007
RENGO’s Statement by General Secretary Koga
The Government and the ruling parties forced to take a vote, at dawn today, in the plenary session of the House of Councilors (the Upper House) with the deliberation in the Commission of the House unfinished, on the bills to revise Public Personnel Law and other related laws, which mainly aim to regulate re-employment through the so-called “descent from heaven” ( a practice to appoint retiring high-ranking Government officials in lucrative jobs in related private corporations) and to introduce a new personnel management system based on one’s capability and achievements. The bills were approved in the Diet, however, the contents are far from the drastic reforms which JTUC-RENGO demands, and it is extremely regrettable that the bills were passed in a hasty manner without sufficient discussions.

The Government had, in advance, come to a decision in the Cabinet meeting that a comprehensive reform of public personnel systems is necessary, and the minister concerned had shown a recognition that “it is needed to grant the public personnel basic trade union rights” in order to reform the personnel management system to adopt the merit system. However, they forced to pass the bills with only partial and insufficient reviews such as the regulation on re-employment through “descent from heaven” and the adoption of merit system into the personnel management system. The Government cannot escape the blame that they did it to pretend that they have brought results, in prospect for the coming election of the members of the House of Councilors scheduled at the end of July this year.

The bills have left manyˇˇproblems behind including 1) that competence, responsibility and framework of the government to deal with the practice to encourage early retirement which is related to re-employment through the so-called “descent from heaven” and to conduct a consistent personnel management are unclear, thus it is possible to become dysfunctional, 2) that the merit system is introduced without a proper evaluation system, and, moreover, 3) that no specified basic policy is shown on how to do with the recruitment examination system, the present career system and the industrial relation system.

The issues of granting basic trade union rights and how to deal with labor-management relations are severed in the course of revising the law to introduce the merit system. In this way, a drastic reform cannot be brought about. As to the reform of public personnel systems, the Special Examination Committee already discussed in its meeting held on 24 April, 2007 that “concerning the issue of the labour-management relationship in the public sector, including the fundamental labour rights of public service employees, should be re-examined with an eye toward reform.” The Government should respect the discussions made in the Special Examination Committee and promote a drastic reform of public personnel systems without delay.

The issue of the reform of public personnel systems and that of granting the fundamental labour rights to them are coming down to a critical stage. We have to strengthen our involvements in the deliberations in such forums as the Special Examination Committee which will compile a final report, on one hand, and on the other, as “A Forum to Examine Issues on Public Personnel Systems” which will be set up hereafter under the Prime Minister with the participation of experts. JTUC-RENGO strongly demands that its representative(s) be allowed to participate in the Forum.

JTUC-RENGO will, together with the member organizations concerned, continue to do its best to bring about a transparent and democratic public service system that will ensure the basic labour rights of public service employees in line with the ILO recommendations.