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BWI Report demands active trade union role in Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Author: Building and Wood Workers' International, Published on: 14 May 2019
The BWI and Japanese construction union Zenkensoren has… released a study into the labour conditions of workers building the Tokyo 2020 facilities, saying that more must be done to protect workers’ safety and ensure decent work. The report, entitled The Dark Side of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics… documents on how ongoing overwork and poor access to justice are creating a culture of fear for Tokyo 2020 construction workers.
“The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics was Japan’s opportunity to address some of the long-running gaps within the construction industry in Japan; however, these problems have just got worse,” said BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson. “Wages remain low, dangerous overwork is common, and workers have limited access to recourse to address their issues.”
The report was sent… to the Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG), the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and the Japanese Sports Council (JSC), the organisations responsible for the construction of Tokyo 2020 sporting facilities, and is based on interviews with workers on the New National Stadium and Olympic Village.
“Workers told us about ongoing patterns of dangerous and illegal overwork on Tokyo 2020 sites, even though one worker has already died as a result of karoshi, death by overwork,” Yuson said. “...Two workers have already died for this Olympics, unless TOCOG, TMG and JSC step in to restrict dangerous overwork we may see more.” “We also spoke to workers that had to buy their own safety equipment,” said Yuson, noting that bogus self-employment was allowing employers to escape from their fundamental obligations to guarantee worker safety…
In addition, the report notes the ongoing problems that exist with the grievance mechanism systems established to address violations of the Sustainable Sourcing Code… The report even notes that when a union filed a complaint on behalf of a member it was rejected because the worker had not filed it himself…