RENGO Statements and Views

Statement on "Final Statement on a Specific Instance Involving Tower Semiconductor Ltd. and TowerJazz Japan, Ltd. in Relation to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises"

04 October 2016
Naoto Ohmi, General Secretary
Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO)
  1. On September 30, 2016, the Japanese National Contact Point (NCP*) issued a "Final Statement on a Specific Instance Involving Tower Semiconductor Ltd. and TowerJazz Japan, Ltd. in Relation to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises." It is unfortunate that this “Final Statement" has been issued before the conclusion of labor-management negotiations by the company in question, but we believe that the involvement of the Japanese NCP can be assessed as having had a degree of impact on the labor-management negotiations, including with regard to the payment of the unpaid severance allowances.
  2. On July 31, 2014, TowerJazz Japan, Ltd., a Japanese subsidiary of a semiconductor maker whose head office is located in Israel, suddenly declared the closure of the Nishiwaki factory, bringing about a labor discharge issue. When this occurred, the Hokuban Local Council of RENGO-Hyogo established and began support for a TowerJazz Branch of Rengo Hokuban Local Union. At the same time, since the case is a violation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, RENGO-Hyogo and RENGO Headquarters coordinated to file an inquiry request with the Japanese NCP on August 18, 2014. Since that time, the local council, RENGO local organization and RENGO Headquarters have all worked hard to make approaches to the management of the company through the Israeli National Center (HISTADRUT) and have taken measures with respect to the local Labor Relations Commission to support the workers' struggle.
  3. By encouraging the company to "provide an opportunity for consultation with related persons, including the interested parties involved," the Japanese NCP was able to develop the issue of the closure of a factory in a local area into an international labor issue brought about by a multinational enterprise, which led to compelling the company to respond to demands from the trade union, such as for the payment of severance allowances and providing full-fledged reemployment support. As the first example of such a case in Japan, it is necessary to have this experience lead on to efforts for the protection of workers in the future. At the same time, issues remain, such as the fact that the CEO of the TowerJazz Japan attended the labor-management negotiations only once, and that collective bargaining is still ongoing, for example with regard to the handling of the company stance that "the provisional severance allowance will be equivalent to three months' worth of the average wage."Despite this, it is unfortunate that the Japanese NCP has issued a final statement stating that "the Japanese NCP decided to end its involvement" for the reasons that a certain period of time has passed and "the Japanese NCP has ascertained that … TowerJazz Japan conducted consultations with the former employees," and RENGO feels that further improvements in the Japanese NCP's responses must be demanded.
  4. RENGO, while continuing to support the efforts of the trade union in question and the RENGO local organizations, will strengthen its approaches to the government toward streamlining and optimizing the procedures regarding the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in order that the Japanese NCP will function even more effectively in the resolution of international labor disputes.
* NCP (National Contact Point): The contact point in the government, etc. of each country for support in diffusion of, implementation of and problem resolution under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The Japanese NCP is organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.