Osaka gov't survey on employees' union activities called unfair practice


An Osaka prefectural government labor relations commission on Monday concluded that the Osaka government engaged in an unfair labor practice last year when it screened workers' emails for evidence of union and political activities.

The Osaka government, headed by Mayor Toru Hashimoto, came under fire in February 2012 when it began screening the emails of civil servants in an attempt to find evidence of union activities and political affiliation among them. It sparked a backlash from city employees and legal experts.

Hashimoto told a news conference Monday night that he will file an objection against the commission's ruling.

The Osaka government began storing in its servers emails sent and received by around 23,400 employees without their knowledge. The city's servers contain around 40 megabytes per employee, which constituted hundreds of email messages, TV Asahi reported.

Some legal experts claimed that storing city employees' email without their consent or knowledge is a step too far, some going so far as to describe it as unconstitutional.

The survey, which included questions about employees' off-duty activities, beliefs and creed, was attacked by bar associations and the city's labor union federation, TV Asahi reported.

The Osaka prefectural government labor relations commission began an investigation into whether the questionnaire constituted unfair labor practice, at which point it was announced that distribution of the survey would be suspended.

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Who does Hashimoto think he is?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Wait one....does not an employer have the right to expect people to be doing their jobs on company time?

While his methods go too far in my opinion, Hashimoto should have at least forewarned the employees that he was taking this action and anyone caught using their GOVERNMENT address for personal (union) business, should be censured.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Regardless of how it turns out, checks and balances on any of Hashimoto's methods are important. He's a guy that defines himself as 'pushing limits and showing strength', thus those limits need to be clearly defined.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


The new leader of a 1000 year empire?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Quite a furor. Or should I say, fuhrer?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The actions undertaken by Mayor Hashimoto seem to be reasonable since the computers used are government property, and the time spent using these computers is government time. Therefore, the government does have the right to monitor the use of their computers by their employees. Perhaps, the extent to which Mayor Hashimoto used his authority might seem somewhat undemocratic, however, I feel that it is important to remember that as a govenment employee, one's actions reflect upon the government as a whole. Therefore, using government property during government compensated work time to explore personal business opportunities, and or to advance one's standing within the government is an ill-advised use of both government time and government property. Mayor Hashimoto is demonstrating that he is truly an independent leader, and while his methods may appear to be over aggressive, as long as he is an elected leader, he does have the ultimate responsibility of managing his government and those working for the people, since an ill-advised action undertaken by one civil servant/political appointee, unfortunately reflects poorily upon all government employees.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Watch out if Hashimoto doesn't get his way! He might threaten to never give interviews again!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


your argument has several holes. while i agree that an employer has a right to monitor their employees use of computers (e.g. what web pages they are viewing), an employer has no right to look through emails. that is a breech of labor practices.

secondly, an employee's actions outside of work, when legal, has no bearing on how the employer is perceived and is not grounds for searching through emails.

thirdly, employees have a legal right to form unions.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Who does Hashimoto think he is?

Mussolini? Franco? Pinochet?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think it would be great to show Hashimoto a dossier on a "goverment employee" with his family history, and past and present activities see if he finds this person should be fired. I'd be he would in a heartbeat.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hashimoto is cracking down on labor unions... as if the unions in Japan weren't so dangerously weakened already. Unions are basically non-existent in Japan nowadays. How can it be called a democratic state without any labor unions? Absurd...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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