Tax bureau accused of breaking labor law over management of contracted workers

The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau has come under attack for allegedly giving orders to contract employees at its dormitories who are not directly under its control — an act that allegedly constitutes disguised contract labor, which is prohibited under the Employment Security Law.

The custodians of the bureau’s 27 dormitories for single employees in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Yamanashi prefectures formed a labor union in late November and have demanded the bureau and the private companies employing them improve their working conditions. Some of the companies have reportedly complied with their request.

Technically, the custodians are supposed to work under the instructions of their employers — the four private companies — and not under the direct instructions of the Tokyo tax bureau.

However, several custodians have disclosed that they mostly get instructions from the tax bureau and virtually no instructions from the companies that employ them.

“The tax bureau gives us such minute instructions as when to go on patrols, how to do the cleaning, as well as on how to handle the moving-in and moving-out of dorm residents on weekends and fire drills,” said a custodian in his 60s.

A representative from the Tokyo tax bureau was defensive about the matter.