Japanese train driver sues employer after being docked S$0.60 for 1-minute delay

Company has a "no work, no pay" policy.

Faris Alfiq | November 12, 2021, 03:06 PM

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A Japanese train driver for JR West Okayama branch is seeking compensation from his employer for cutting his salary by 56 yen (S$0.60) for a two-minute delay in work.

According to SoraNews24, the driver said that he was scheduled to make a return trip with an empty train at the Okayama Station depot on the morning of Jun. 18 last year.

Driver found to be at the wrong platform

When the driver realised that he was on the wrong platform when the train arrived, he eventually went to the correct platform and met up with the other driver.

The mistake led to a one-minute delay in departure as well as another minute's delay in warehousing the train at the depot.

As a result, the railway company initially deducted 85 yen (S$1) from his July paycheck as there was no actual work done for two minutes when the delay happened.

SoraNews24 reported that the train driver escalated the issue to Okayama Labour Standards Inspection Office. His employer decided to reduce the delay time to one minute, as advised by the Labour Bureau.

He was docked 56 yen (S$0.60), 43 yen (S$0.50) for the minute-long delay, and 13 yen (S$0.15) in overtime.

Still unhappy with the pay cut as he believed that the error did not cause any damage to the company, nor did it disrupt the train schedule, he decided to take the matter to the Okayama District Court in March this year.

He sought compensation of 56 yen plus 2.2 million yen (S$26,090) more for mental anguish.

"No work, no pay" policy

JR West maintained its position of "no work, no pay" for the deduction. 

SoraNews24 reported that the company follows the same principle for late-coming and absenteeism.

However, the driver argued that the company was using pay cut as "punishment" for human error, and said that a small mistake should never be classified as a breach of contract.

Top image via Snowscat on Unsplash