A group formed to protect the rights of gig workers and establish rules in Japan

Mitsuhiro Yoneda, CEO of Tsunagu Group Holdings Inc., speaks during a press conference in Tokyo on February 17, 2022. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — An organization has been formed by messaging app provider Line Corp. and other companies involved in recruitment services to protect the rights of gig workers amid an increase in their numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Founded at the end of January, the Japan Spot Work Association will set up helplines and create ground rules for the industry, as gig workers are considered self-employed and therefore do not guarantee minimum wage or employment. employment insurance under current labor legislation.

Companies involved in the foundation also include Tsunagu Group Holdings Inc., Sharefull Inc., HR Solutions Corp. and Wakrak Inc.

Gig workers are often employed by intermediary recruiting groups and undertake a wide range of one-off jobs. A recent increase in their numbers has been spurred by a growing popularity of food ordering and delivery services amid the pandemic.

However, there have been a number of instances where their working conditions, such as wages and hours, differed from what was stipulated in a job description.

“We will strive to create an industry with integrity,” said Mitsuhiro Yoneda, CEO of Tsunagu Group and director of the association, at a press conference on February 17.

The rights of gig workers have recently been in the spotlight, with the European Union presenting plans in December last year proposing that the companies that employ them treat workers as employees and provide a minimum wage, between other rights.