Madhouse Production Assistant Hospitalized for Overwork, Demands Compensation for Unpaid Overtime

posted on by Kim Morrissy

A Madhouse production assistant has joined a trade union and is seeking compensation for unpaid overtime, as well as an apology for the various forms of power harassment they received, according to youth labor rights activist Shōhei Sakakura. Sakakura, who acts as a representative and editor-in-chief for the youth labor advocacy group and magazine Posse, reported the news on his Twitter account on Friday.

Sakakura reported that the Madhouse production assistant had joined the Black Company Union, a trade union formed in 2017 that offers consultation and support for workers across various industries. It is one of the organizations associated with Posse. Sakakura stated that the Black Company Union had commenced the process of collective bargaining on April 5.

In a follow-up tweet, Sakakura went into more detail about the Madhouse production assistant's situation: during crunch time, the assistant would work over 200 hours of overtime per month, and would be made to work all day and night even on weekends or public holidays. They had even collapsed due to overwork before and had been taken to hospital.

Sakakura remarked that he has heard from a lot of people that "this is how the anime industry works." He said that he used to be told the same thing about about the teaching, vending machine, nursing, childcare, film production, and construction industries. "But we managed to improve the long hours and unpaid overtime in those industries," he wrote. "It takes courage, but when workers speak up, they have strong power."

"However, there's no denying that behind this black company lies a black industry," Sakakura went on. "Even if we manage to improve one company, if that doesn't spread to the companies around them, then the others will just carry on thinking that honesty doesn't pay. They'll force the burden on smaller companies by subcontracting them for work. Workers from many different companies will need to speak up in order to change the industry."

The animation studio Madhouse was founded in 1972 by ex-Mushi Pro animators, including Masao Maruyama, Osamu Dezaki, Rintaro and Yoshiaki Kawajiri. Maruyama left the company in 2011 to form MAPPA. Madhouse is well known for its productions on Cardcaptor Sakura, Death Note, and and the first season of One-Punch Man.

Source: Shōhei Sakakura's Twitter account

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