20 Hitachi Filipino Trainees to fight

20 Hitachi Filipino Trainees to fight for their “unjustified” dismissal

Hitachi announced that 20 foreign national technical interns had notified dismissal in the middle of practical training. According to Hitachi, 20 Filipino apprentices working at the Kasado office in Yamaguchi Prefecture came to Japan with a 3-year training schedule from July last year but received a dismissal notice on 20th of last month.

Twenty Filipino intern trainees are fighting orders to leave Japan, saying they have twice been victimized by Hitachi Ltd.’s misuse of the government’s training program.

The Tokyo-based major electrical machinery manufacturer in September sent dismissal notices to the 20 trainees working at its train production plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Hitachi was suspected of abusing the trainee system, and it was unable to obtain government approval for its new training program. That meant the Filipinos’ resident status as technical intern trainees could not be renewed.

Although their training period has yet to expire, the 20 Filipinos, now on short-term visas, must leave Japan by Oct. 20.

“It is a fact that we temporarily terminated employment (of the trainees), but we’re going to employ them again as soon as we obtain approval (for the training program),” Hitachi’s public relations office said. “We don’t know the reasons why the approval is not given to us now.”

The Filipinos have joined a labor union and are demanding that Hitachi revoke the dismissals.

“We were suddenly given notices of dismissal, and the dismissals cannot be justified because we didn’t commit any wrongdoing,” one of the trainees told The Asahi Shimbun.

The technical intern training program is designed to provide foreigners with on-the-job training to acquire skills that they can use after they return to their homelands.

According to the labor union and the Filipinos, the 20 trainees, who were referred to Hitachi by Hiroshima-based agency Friend Nippon, are all in their 20s.

They came to Japan in July 2017 for a three-year training program and worked at Hitachi’s Kasado train manufacturing plant in Kudamatsu, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The factory, however, came under suspicion of making the trainees perform jobs unrelated to acquiring necessary skills.

Several of the trainees told The Asahi Shimbun that they wanted to learn skills needed for “electrical machinery assembly,” but they were instead given menial tasks, including work to install drainage pipes on Shinkansen bullet trains.

The Justice Ministry and the supervisory body Organization for Technical Intern Training (OTIT) inspected the plant in July on suspicion of violating the Technical Intern Training Law.

Under the system, companies that accept technical interns must receive approval from the OTIT for their training programs.

Hitachi has submitted a new training program. But the OTIT cannot approve the plan because it is currently checking whether Hitachi can implement training programs appropriately, ministry sources said.

With no OTIT approval for the training program for the Filipinos’ second and subsequent years, their resident status was changed from technical intern to 30-day short stay on Sept. 20.

On the same day, Hitachi sent the notices of dismissal. The company paid each trainee more than 100,000 yen ($878), equivalent to their monthly wages.

If they return to the Philippines, they will be allowed to re-enter Japan if Hitachi receives OTIT approval for the training program.

But the trainees said that if Hitachi had implemented an appropriate technical intern training program in the first place, they would not be forced into a situation in which they must return to the Philippines.

They are also considering filing a lawsuit against Hitachi if the company does not guarantee their status or pay sufficient monetary compensation.

According to the Filipinos, a total of 99 trainees will need to renew their resident status by the end of the year, and all 99 could be dismissed.

Sixty-five of the trainees, including the 20, joined Scrum Union Hiroshima, a labor union for individuals.

Source: ANN News, Youtube,

article (C): The asahi shimbun

20 Hitachi Filipino Trainees to fight
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