Japanese Train Driver Suing Employer After Getting Wages Docked 28p For Running One Minute Late
A train driver in Japan is suing his employer after arriving one minute late to his shift resulted in 28p being docked from his wage.
On June 18, 2020, a driver arrived at the wrong platform to transport an empty train to Okayama station in south Japan. Upon realising his mistake and hurrying to the correct platform, the driver ended up being one minute late.
Subsequently, the train also arrived one minute late to the depot, which resulted in the West Japan Railway Company, otherwise known as JR West, deciding to dock the employee’s wage.
The male worker is now seeking reparations, not only asking for the proper pay for his work that day, but more than 2.2 million yen (£14,300) for the ‘mental anguish’ the incident allegedly caused.
JR West argued that ‘no labour was performed’ during the delay, which is why it decided to deduct the worker’s wages, Sora News 24 reports.
However, the worker condemned the company for ‘using wage cuts as ‘sanctions’ for human error’ and that his mistake in arriving at the wrong platform was ‘small’ and shouldn’t be considered a breach of contract.
He also contested the reduction of his wage on the basis of the train being empty, arguing that the delay had not caused any issues to the timetable.
A commentator in Japan who heard about the situation stated:
This lack of leeway is characteristic of Japan. It’s not about being highly productive.
If you’re a crew member, it’s often said that if you cause a delay of one minute, you’ll be treated as if you’ve caused an accident. So you can reduce someone’s salary by one minute, but you can’t pay overtime in one-minute increments as well?
They concluded, ‘I would go crazy if I was in charge of payroll, having to deduct minutes from people’s salaries for every mistake they make.’
In March, the driver took the case to the Okayama District Court, however, JR West, which has a reputation for reliability, pressed that exact times to the exact minute must be enforced on its lines.
Moreover, the company argued how human error, such as delays, can have dire consequences on passenger’s own safety and welfare.
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