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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 June 25 - July 1  > Revise Worker Dispatch Law now!
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2008 June 25 - July 1 [LABOR]

Revise Worker Dispatch Law now!

June 30, 2008
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Major staffing agency Goodwill, notorious for its illegal labor practices, has announced that it is going out of business.

While companies that repeat illegal practices deserve social sanctions, it is necessary to take drastic measures to crack down on the illegal labor practices prevailing in the temporary workers staffing business.

Easy way to reduce labor cost

Goodwill was ordered to suspend its business in January after a revelation that it had dispatched temporary workers to stevedoring and construction sites, work areas where the use of temporary workers is prohibited.

On June 24, three Goodwill employees in managerial positions as well as the corporation itself were indicted on charges of being involved in the illegal labor practice of the so-called double-dispatch.

Many staffing agencies have sent temporary workers to dangerous workplaces without giving them enough information and training, knowing such a labor practice is illegal. They take a cut of certain amounts of money of temporary workers’ wages under the name of “expenses”, and refuse to compensate them for accidents at workshops, leaving them without social insurance coverage.

The introduction and adverse revision of the Worker Dispatch Law underlies these illegal labor practices.

The enactment of the Worker Dispatch Law was aimed at acceding to the business circle’s demand for cheap labor that employers can use and dispose of anytime. The law’s revision in 1999 allowed most business sectors to use temporary workers instead of full-time workers. The use of temporary workers expanded to the manufacturing industries in 2003. Today, more than 3.2 million people are working as temporary workers, and 70 percent of them are day laborers who are not even employed by staffing agencies. A drastic revision of the Worker Dispatch Law is necessary in older to redress temporary workers’ harsh working conditions.

The government has begun to say that it may be necessary to revise the law to ban the use of temp workers as day laborers. In addition to immediately banning such a labor practice, it should also require staffing agencies to regularly hire temp workers, and limit industries that can staff temporary workers, such as translators and software development engineers.

The Worker Dispatch Law needs to be changed into one that will protect temporary workers.

Measures to secure jobs for temp workers

Urgent measures must be taken to secure jobs for workers who have been provided temporary jobs by Goodwill as well as the more than 4,300 Goodwill employees. About three million workers have registered with Goodwill, and about 25,000 worked for it in May.

The task is for the government to take measures to require companies that have used temporary workers staffed by Goodwill to directly hire them.
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