Gov’t eyes giving local public servants right to bargain over wages

The government is considering giving local public servants the right to forge agreements with their employers on their pay and working hours through negotiations in new legislation, government sources said Monday.

The plan — similar to one being sought by the government for national public servants in pending legislation — would abolish the current system under which pay and other working conditions for local public servants are decided on the basis of recommendations from personnel boards in each prefecture.

Public servants have had their labor rights limited since shortly after World War II when the government sought to curb their demands for wage increases. Personnel boards have been created to compensate for their lack of labor rights.

It also eyes giving firefighters the right to form unions in principle. They have so far been barred from forming unions over concerns that command structures would be disrupted if relationships between unions and management become frayed.