Employees sue moving firm Hikkoshisha over mandatory damage reimbursement


A group of current and former workers at mover Hikkoshisha Co. filed a lawsuit Friday with the Nagoya District Court against the company, seeking some ¥70 million in compensation for lost wages used to reimburse for damage incurred during transit.

The 12 plaintiffs, calling the company’s practice unjust, demanded that its Nagoya branch and other subsidiaries of the Hikkoshisha group remedy the situation.

The Nagoya-based firm, whose full name is Arisan Mark no Hikkoshisha, advertises itself with a logo showing two ants carrying heavy weights.

According to the petition, Hikkoshisha forced the employers to reimburse customers for damage to furniture and other items incurred during transit or in accidents caused by the company’s truck drivers.

When the compensation cost was too high for employees to cover, the company’s mutual aid association, established to provide financial support to its workers by offering loans, paid the whole sum and later deducted it from their salaries.

The plaintiffs are arguing that damage incurred when the crew performs its duties with caution and without negligence is one of the business risks that a company has to manage, and reimbursing by deducting the sum from workers’ salaries is unreasonable.

The plaintiffs also say Hikkoshisha frequently cuts workers’ pay when the company posts poor business results, and demotes workers without any grounds. This maltreatment inflicts financial and other serious problems in daily life, leading to emotional distress, they say.

Hikkoshisha said it couldn’t comment on the lawsuit.

One of the plaintiffs, Takuya Suzuki, 28, who joined Hikkoshisha after graduating from college and worked there about three years, said it was a common practice that all damage during transit was deducted and reimbursed from workers’ wages.

“We got used to it, and thought it was natural for us to compensate the damage,” Suzuki said.

He recalled an incident in which a cardboard box of kimono got wet because of rain, and he and a co-worker were forced to pay more than ¥100,000 for their cleaning.

Suzuki also said he was ordered to pay compensation twice, around ¥400,000 and ¥250,000, for damage when he was driving a moving truck.

He said he decided to leave the company three years ago when his wife became pregnant because he feared that his debts would increase if he caused any more accidents.

But when he was contacted in February by a current employee of the company who said Hikkoshisha’s working conditions may be illegal, Suzuki began to think the company’s practices were wrong, he said.

He said he sought help from the Precariat Union — a labor union working to protect the rights mainly of young workers and part-timers — and entered negotiations with the company, but Hikkoshisha failed to deal with the problem.

“I’m worried about those who are still working for the company,” Suzuki said. “This company has to change.

“I worked hard for the company, but I was often disappointed to see my pay slip,” he said after filing the lawsuit. “It wasn’t worth working for. There is no way I can accept this.”

Economic growth in Q2 slows to 0.64%


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s economy grew at its slowest pace in three years in April-June, data showed yesterday, hammered by a plunge in its key export sector and falling demand in China.

The results underscore the challenge Taipei faces in diversifying from its traditional mainstays of electronics and hardware exports, as it tries to encourage tech innovation from smaller homegrown businesses as a way to boost the economy.

Growth came in at just 0.64 percent year on year in the second quarter, sharply down from 3.37 percent in the previous three months and badly missing a forecast of 3.05 percent, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said.

Compared with the previous three months, the economy shrank 7.65 percent.

Exports fell 9.81 percent as inventory of electronic products remained high and mainland China expanded supply chains within the mainland.

The soft reading came despite a 2.81-percent rise in private consumption, which beat expectations of a 2.75 percent increase.

DGBAS Expects 2.68% Growth for 2015

Wang Shu-chuan, a specialist with the DGBAS, said that if the agency only took into account the weaker-than-expected second-quarter GDP growth, Taiwan’s economy could be expected to grow 2.68 percent in 2015, lower than an expansion of more than 3 percent forecast by both the government and major think tanks.

But the actual result will depend on how the economy performs in the second half of this year, she said.

In May, the DGBAS cut its forecast for Taiwan’s GDP growth in 2015 to 3.28 percent from a previous estimate of 3.78 percent, citing slower exports and private consumption growth.

The DGBAS will update its forecast on Aug. 14.

Wang said the global economy showed signs of slowing down in the second quarter as demand appeared to weaken, and inventories in the electronics industry remained high, hurting Taiwan’s exports, the backbone of the country’s economy.

Wang said mainland China’s efforts to build its own supply chain in the manufacturing sector also compromised demand for products from Taiwan in the April-June period.


Record numbers of women marrying up north


Friday, July 31, 2015

The number of Hong Kong women marrying mainlanders reached a record 7,685 last year, according to census figures.

But the Census and Statistics Department noted that the magnitude of growth is still relatively small.

For the number for such marriages surged 10-fold between 1986, when there were just 675 such unions and 2006 to 6,483.

Meanwhile, the number of unions featuring Hong Kong men and mainland brides fluctuated throughout the period.

A total of 15,776 such unions were registered in 1986. The number rose dramatically to 28,145 in 2006. But it dropped again last year to just 18,645.

The number of married Hongkongers generally increased for both men and women between 1986 and 2014.

There were more married women than men since 2001, but the scales are reversed when foreign domestic helpers are excluded.

The same period also saw a growth in the numbers of men and women of marriageable age aged 15 or above who never married, with increases of 14.3 and 61.7 percent, respectively.

Such marriage patterns follow a continuous drop in ratio of males to females over the past three decades from 1,087 in 1981 to 858 in 2014.

Notably, there are generally more women than men in the 20-39 age group since 1996 as well as in the 40-44 age group since 2001.

The number of divorces soared from 2,062 in 1981 to 22,271 in 2013, and dropped slightly to 20,019 last year.

The median age of Hong Kong women’s first childbirth rose steadily since 1981.

In 2014, the median age was 31.3, as compared with 25.1 in 1981 and 29.4 in 2001.


Ireland: Muslim cleric who led anti-ISIS demo praises Hamas jihadis


Recently I wrote (here) about a Muslim rally in Ireland against the Islamic State, that drew a grand total of fifty people. It was led by Shaykh Dr. Umar Al-Qadri, who said this about “radical teachings”: “We as Muslims, we must condemn them. We must not remain silent. The Mosques, the Islamic centres, the organisations, we should not ignore these, because these people are like an infection, like a cancer. If you remain silent you will let them come in the Mosque and they will speak to the youth and spread the cancer of extremism to the Muslim youth.”

However, it turns out that Al-Qadri is not quite as vigilant against this “extremism” as many may have assumed. Here is some important information from Mark Humphrys:

Umar Al-Qadri of the Blanchardstown mosque attacks Israel at a protest in Dublin in Jan 2009.
This video was here but was deleted.

  • He has a fanatical hatred of Israel. He calls Hamas “my brothers and sisters”. He says “Hamas loves peace.” But of course reluctantly has to be fanatically violent.
  • He says (at 5 min) that he stands with Hamas in not recognising Israel. No two-state solution here.
  • He claims Israel rapes Muslim women in front of Muslim men: “If you kill our children, rape our women in front of us, in front of our eyes, how can we remain peaceful people?”
  • The crowd chants Islamic war cries during his fanatic speech. An uncovered infidel woman stands by on stage with these religious maniacs as they chant their war cries. This is possibly Freda Hughes.
  • Umar Al-Qadri’s mosque was inaugurated by Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan in January 2008. Did Brian Lenihan ask a single question about Islamic extremism at this mosque? Did it ever cross his mind?
  • Umar Al-Qadri organises demo against ISIS, July 2015. Great. But how does this square with his support for Hamas?

It is remarkable how many “moderates” prove to be anything but when it comes to Israel.