More than 50 percent of unionized workers in Japan work an average of 29.6 hours overtime per month without pay, according to a survey conducted by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) and released Saturday.
Rengo, Japan’s largest labor union group, compiled the data from 23,000 unionized workers who responded to a survey on overtime in June last year. Rengo tallied 44,000 unionized workers nationwide.
Rengo has been campaigning for the elimination of unpaid overtime in this year’s spring wage negotiations.
Fifty-one percent of the workers responding to the Rengo survey said they did varying degrees of overtime without pay.
In terms of frequency, 25 percent said they performed unpaid overtime work “occasionally,” 19 percent “frequently” and 7 percent “half the month.”
The length of unpaid overtime last June averaged 30.5 hours for men and 20.5 hours for women.
Among men, 36 percent of the workers who did unpaid overtime were in their early 30s, 32 percent in their late 30s, and 30 percent in their early 40s.
Asked why they did unpaid overtime, 45 percent of the people cited “achieving targets,” 22 percent said “because others are doing it.”
Another 20 percent said it was “difficult to ask for overtime pay.” There were overlaps in the replies on the motives for performing unpaid overtime.
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