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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 February 26 - March 4  > Abe Cabinet subservient to staffing service industry
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2014 February 26 - March 4 [LABOR]

Abe Cabinet subservient to staffing service industry

March 3, 2014
The Abe Cabinet recently approved a draft bill to revise the law on the use of temporary agency workers, appearing to mirror the demands from the agency job placement industry.

A major focal point of discussions over the revision at a tripartite sub-committee of the Labor Ministry’s Labor Policy Council was whether to incorporate in the revised-law the currently recognized principle that the use of agency workers should be applied only to temporary and transient jobs.

During committee discussions, in which experts along with representatives of business circles and unions took part, staffing industry representatives demanded that the revised-law exclude the principle. Although union representatives emphasized that the principle should be included in the law in order to prevent employers from easily replacing full-time jobs with unstable, temporary jobs, the government draft supported the staffing industry’s demand.

A time limit on the use of temporary workers was another focal point. The existing law restricts employers’ use of temps up to three years.

Temporary staffing providers in the committee proposed that the use of temporary placement services be allowed for more than three years on the condition that companies supplied with agency workers listen to unions’ opinions. This proposal was adopted into the government draft.

In discussions regarding the working conditions of agency workers, staffing business representatives called on the ministry to reject the labor representatives demand that agency workers be treated “equally” with full-time workers engaging in the same jobs at receiving companies. They argued that equal treatment would increase their client companies’ labor costs. The draft states that host employers should provide agency workers with a “balanced” treatment.

What staffing business representatives demanded in the sub-committee sessions were indicated in a written request submitted in July 2013 to Labor Minister Tamura Norihisa by associations of staffing agencies, the Japan Production Skill Labor Association, and the Japan Staffing Services Association.

At an early stage, committee discussion took place without staffing industry representatives. However, after a request was made by the industry, their representatives’ presence in the committee became possible.

The worker dispatch industry has long made political donations to Tamura. In 2012, when he was appointed to the labor minister, the industry gave him 500,000 yen in donations and 140,000 in payments for purchase of his fundraising dinner party tickets.

One staffing business operator appreciated the situation saying, “Since the inauguration of the Abe administration, everything has gone in our favor so far.”
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