« 社説:首相の沖縄訪問 今さら「県内移設」では | トップページ | test »

2010年5月 6日 (木)


--The Asahi Shimbun, May 4

The Diet is currently debating a bill to amend the law on dispatched workers. The proposed legislation is far from perfect, but at least the Diet can explore ways to correct income disparities that breed poverty.

Dispatched, or haken, workers have no employment stability. Their jobs, which are found by temporary staffing agencies, can be terminated at a moment's notice in what is known as haken-giri. As a result, people on occasion have suddenly found themselves homeless.

The Diet must debate this issue in earnest and find ways to improve job security for dispatched workers.

The bill aims to protect dispatched workers and overhaul the dispatch system itself. The least protected among these workers are those who are registered with temp staff agencies and gain employment contracts only when jobs are available. This practice will be banned under the amended law, except in 26 fields that require special skills, such as interpreting.

The dispatch of workers to manufacturing companies, where massive dismissals became commonplace, will be allowed only in cases where temp staff agencies are expected to hire workers for more than one year.

The amended law will also put an end to the illegal practice of giso ukeoi. This is when temp staffing agencies dispatch workers to client companies under disguised contracts that amount to outsourcing. The revised law will force offending client companies to conclude employment contracts directly with dispatched workers. One-day dispatches will, in principle, also be banned.

Since the dispatched workers law came into effect in 1986, the dispatch system has been deregulated time and again. The proposed amendment represents a major turning point.

However, many workers are skeptical of the proposed revisions because they do not expect any substantive results. Some point out that regulating the dispatch system further will only result in a change of their status to workers under ukeoi and other equally unstable contracts. Approximately 440,000 dispatched workers will be affected by the revised law. A private research institute estimates that 180,000 of them could end up jobless.

These criticisms stem from the amendment bill's failure to address structural problems inherent in the dispatch system.

Of the nation's current work force of about 54 million, one-third are non-regular employees, including about 2 million dispatched workers.

Non-regular workers come in handy for companies that want cheap labor. The shift by companies to non-regular workers has resulted in widening income and other gaps among workers.

The Diet must address this situation without delay.

Wage systems based on the concept of "equal pay for jobs of equal value" are taking hold in Europe. Put simply, it means paying the same wages to regular and non-regular employees alike whose jobs generate the same results.

What should be done to put this concept into practice in our society and, specifically, at individual companies?

Companies must be prepared to cut their regular employees' working hours and review the wage structure to equalize the treatment of regular and non-regular employees.

For the time being, the main challenge will be to expand the responsibilities of companies that accept dispatched workers and tighten pertinent regulations.

It will also be necessary for the government to realize what companies are doing to replace dispatched workers with other contract workers in anticipation of the legal amendment.

There is a mountain of work to be done to make sure that everybody is able to work without being treated unfairly.


« 社説:首相の沖縄訪問 今さら「県内移設」では | トップページ | test »





« 社説:首相の沖縄訪問 今さら「県内移設」では | トップページ | test »