An unemployment crisis is blowing violently through the Japanese archipelago. Many temporary workers have lost their jobs, their contracts suddenly terminated. Worse still, many have been thrown out into the cold with no place to live. The alarming scramble for personnel cuts by automakers and other large corporations who in the past had been Japanese economic leaders is unprecedented.
In addition to a response to the immediate employment crisis, there’s an urgent need for a fundamental re-examination of the Worker Dispatch Law. Most of the recent payroll cuts have taken place in the manufacturing industry, where a ban on temporary workers was lifted in 2004, leading to a shift of its workforce from full-time employees to temporary workers. As a result, when the economy suffers, temporary workers are dismissed without a second thought. Anyone can see now that non-full-time employees are considered disposable labor.
There have been increasing calls to ban temporary workers in manufacturing. Although an amendment to the Worker Dispatch Law banning daily hires has been submitted to the Diet, this is not enough. It is time for a comprehensive reassessment of the Worker Dispatch Law, including the possibility of prohibiting temporary workers in the manufacturing industry and a discussion of the pros and cons of the registration-based worker dispatch system.