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The agriculture ministry allegedly kept hidden that some of its officials worked full time for the ministry’s labor union, which is prohibited under the national public service law, sources said Sunday.

During a probe last April, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry found that 142 of its officials may have worked for the union full time, but it reported to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry that there were no such workers, according to the sources.

The internal affairs ministry conducted a probe over the existence of secret full-time union officials at ministries and agencies after it was revealed the Social Insurance Agency had such workers.

The agriculture ministry is believed to have informed the union of when the probe would be conducted so it could manipulate information about its operations and employees, the sources said.

Job security

Management and labor at electronics manufacturers have reached an agreement to “make utmost efforts to ensure job security.”

Electronics manufacturers and the Japanese Electrical Electronic & Information Union, an umbrella organization consisting of about 620,000 members, also urged the government in a joint statement to expand the safety net forall workers, including nonregular employees.

The agreement was reached Saturday as major electronics manufacturers are set to reject labor unions’ demands for pay-scale hikes in the “shunto” spring labor-management wage talks.

Masatake Nakamura, head of the umbrella group, argued during a news conference it was a “great achievement” that labor and management confirmed the importance of job security and said he expects the agreement to curb pressure from companies for further layoffs.

The government estimates that 157,806 nonregular employees, mainly temporary workers in the manufacturing sector, will lose their jobs between last October and the end of this month amid the recession.

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