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Labor rights lawyers criticize opposition to tightening the use of temporary workers

Labor rights lawyers say that those who are against tightening the use of temporary workers are trying to justify their arguments in disregard of the real situation of workers.

On October 28, the Labor Lawyers Association of Japan (LLAJ) published a position paper criticizing the opponents of the call for revising the Worker Dispatch Law to restrict the use of temporary workers, making the following points:

Tightening provisions of the Worker Dispatch Law will mean eliminating job opportunities and forcing many out of work

The revision of the Worker Dispatch Law, which is now under consideration, will partially prohibit the use of temporary workers in the manufacturing sector. The system of temporary workers sent by staffing agencies will not disappear. Even if stricter control is imposed on the use of temporary workers, that does not mean it will make it more difficult for workers to find jobs. The fundamental strengthening of regulatory provisions of the Worker Dispatch Law will improve temporary workersf present conditions and will pressure companies to directly employ temporary workers, leading to a stable employment situation and improvement of working conditions.

Tightening the Worker Dispatch Law will encourage companies to seek low cost production abroad and damage Japanfs international competitiveness

If Japanese companies are to increase their international competitiveness, they cannot avoid making efforts to create a stable workforce. However, this is impossible as long as companies heavily depend on the use of temporary workers and is detrimental to international competitiveness. European Union countries, including Germany and France, and in South Korea as well, are strictly limiting the use of temporary workers to truly temporary or auxiliary jobs. The present bill proposed by the three ruling parties calls for Japan to follow these countriesf practices and is in line with internationally accepted standards.

Workers need temporary jobs

Many of temporary workers want full-time jobs with employment security but have no choice but to take up temporary jobs in the present situation, as confirmed by government statistics. A Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry survey of the situation of temporary workers shows that more than 40 percent of temporary workers want to keep on working at the same work place as permanent staffing agency workers. Only 6 percent said they are satisfied with their status as contingent workers registered with staffing agencies.

Tightening Worker Dispatch Law will not help reduce poverty rate

The working poor has increased in number because regulation of the labor market has been eased to the extent that many companies have replaced full-time workers with contingent workers even for previously permanent jobs in disregard of the fundamental principle of employment. In Japan, social services have been provided on the premise of lifetime employment, but successive cutbacks in the social services budget have increased the poverty rate. A Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry survey of temporary workers in 2008 shows that 90 percent of temporary workers live on their own income alone.

- Akahata, November 3, 2009



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