Japan-side advisor Tim Langley says Goldman Sachs Japan and employees reach out-of-court settlement

Press release here.

A noteworthy item is that the unionists received several years’ worth of severance benefits in exchange for giving up their jobs. That’s more consistent with Japan’s regular employment regime. It looks like Goldman Sachs originally tried to import some American practice of restructuring into the Japanese labor market.

[More later.]

[Update 7/7/12: The concern with this, of course, is that while Goldman Sachs was negotiating with the union, they initiated another round of layoffs. It makes it look like the bargaining was not really good faith—or that dismissed employees were virtually interchangeable. They couldn’t get rid of one set cheaply, so they turned around and cut others.

This is a big problem when you work in Japan. If you aren’t on the same terms as everyone else, you have a big target on your back. The Japanese government likes the fact that foreigners are corralled into a gray zone by employers. Employers of foreigners are lax about the labor law rules, and then the J-government gets to drag its feet about a remedy.

When the labor terms and conditions are being written by foreigner executives who, in many cases, are transients, it is very frustrating to make the case that foreigners are entitled to the same equal protection of the law as Japanese. But if you ever put that idea to a Japanese diplomatic corps, they would say, “of course foreigners have equal protection.”

It just sad that this always has to be fought for.]