Laid-off Japanese Workers Protest at Automakers' HQs

Want jobs back

Labor activists and laid off workers protested at the Tokyo headquarters of leading Japanese automakers on June 2, demanding executives talk to them and give them their jobs back.

Holding banners that read "Let us see your president," several dozen protesters rallied at the offices of the six automakers one after the other, including Toyota, Nissan and Honda, travelling between the offices by bus.

Auto-makers and other corporate giants in Japan have slashed payrolls in recent months to cope with the global economic downturn, which has hit the country's car, electronics and other exports hard.

Toyota Motor, the world's top automaker, announced its first ever annual loss in the year to March and has slashed 7,800 temporary and contract jobs.

Japan's second and third automakers, Nissan Motor and Honda Motor, have shed some 6,500 jobs, cutting temporary employee numbers to zero.

"People are watching if your company really respects social responsibility or treats workers simply like machines," Makoto Kawazoe, head of an independent union, told company officials outside Nissan headquarters. "Your company should start taking action immediately

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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