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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 February 20 - 26  > Canon to increase direct employment
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2008 February 20 - 26 TOP3 [LABOR]

Canon to increase direct employment

February 21 & 22, 2008
“Canon’s policy is insufficient, but it is the first step towards forcing the company into the corner,” Shii said.

Canon Inc. reportedly adopted on February 20 a plan to increase by 5,000 the number of workers the company directly hires in 2008 by offering full-time positions to temporary and contract workers working at its subsidies in Japan.

The company, led by Mitarai Fujio, who chairs the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), has been under strong pressure from its workers and the public to put an end to the illegal practice of “disguised contract labor” and increase the rate of regular workers.

The Japanese Communist Party Dietmembers’ group has repeatedly urged the government to instruct the company to redress its employment policy.

In the February 8 Lower House Budget Committee meeting, JCP Chair Shii Kazuo severely criticized Canon for replacing regular workers with temporary workers on a massive scale. This Diet discussion has had strong repercussions and reinforced public opinion demanding direct employment and a change of workers’ status from temporary workers to regular workers.

In reply to Shii, Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo stated that he will have the Labor Ministry check on the situation at the company. Labor Minister Masuzoe Yoichi also stated, “Corporations’ social responsibility should be called into question.”

Shii’s statement shocked Canon as shown by opinion within the management that the company has to accelerate the solution to the problem of “disguised contract labor.”

However, most of the workers that have become directly employed by the company remain as employees with limited contracts of up to three years.

Commenting on Canon’s new policy, Shii, at a press conference on February 21, pointed out that among 5,000 workers that the company will directly employ, the number of regular workers and workers on short-term employment contracts of three years or less are 1,000 and 2,500 respectively.

“This policy is insufficient, but it is the first step towards forcing Canon into the corner. We will make further efforts to drastically improve temporary workers’ working conditions there and elsewhere,” Shii said.
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