In parallel with the controversial war bills, the current Diet session debates on revision of the Worker Dispatch Act for worse: a bill to remove barriers of a dispatching period of workers. Winning the majority of the ruling parties of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Komeito, it was enacted September 11 in the plenary session of the House of Representatives. The law will produce a massive number of unstable workers and, furthermore, a prospect is seen on ‘a military draft system to magnetize the poor’.
FIRST STEP OF MILITARY ENROLLMENT DUE TO ECONOMIC REASONS
The bill in question, which had been sent back to the House of Representatives, passed the House of Councilors on September 9 with an amendment of implementation date, which was originally set as September 1, 2015, to be postponed to September 30.
Destruction of Direct Employment Rule
In only 20 days the enacted laws will be implemented. There is a reason. It is because from October this year a rule will prevail: if a dispatched worker demands, as he/she is forced to work in the illegal conditions, employers are obliged to hire him/her on the direct employment basis. Therefore it is necessary for the government to provide with employers a ‘loophole’ to annul the rule.
In other words, a dispatched worker is to be stripped of a chance to gain a regularly-employed status. The above-mentioned practice was arranged by the Democratic Party-led government in 2012 in order to protect workers. Under the scheme a worker could be employed on the direct employment basis, if he/she wants so, on the ground that he/she works with a temporary status beyond a specific period or is hired under the illegal conditions. The system is called ‘Minashi-Seido’, or a status-conversion program.
The Minashi-Seido was introduced by the lessons learned in the 2008 economic crisis when numerous workers who had been sacked and lost a house to live in flocked in central Tokyo for survival, spending year-end days in the make-shift village built in the Hibiya Park. The succeeding Abe government, however, has killed the program since it reinforces deregulation policies in the labor sector; it revises the temporary staffing services law and reexamines the rule of working hours in the context of its growth strategy.
The recent revision of the Dispatch Act constitutes a first step. The opposition parties had harshly criticized it in the plenary session of the House of Councilors ahead of voting: ‘the amendment defends interests for the industry and by the industry’ (the Democratic Party of Japan=DJP) and ‘it enables dispatching agents to use provisional staff at any time and place and for any span’ (Communist Party).
Sacked Every Three Years
The amendment not only destroys the Minashi-Seido but also undermines regulations to protect workers. The new rule limits to three years in the maximum for a dispatched worker to stay in one workplace. In other words employers can hire rental workers with lower wages than those of the regularly-employed and fire them more easily.
Thus, thanks to the revision, employers are allowed to replace workers every three years. That means a greater number of unstable workers will be produced. The amendment means the worst one since 1985 when the Act was inaugurated. Rental workers are destined to be sacked in every three years automatically.
The Worker Dispatch Act was implemented in 1986, with a restriction on 13 designated jobs, including software engineers, translators and secretaries. In 1996 the range expanded to 26 types of job, including advertisement designers. In 1999 limitations were removed for liberalization. Except for the 26 designated jobs, a dispatching term was set in the maximum as a year. In 2004 the period was extended to three years, and simultaneously employers in the manufacturing industry were allowed to hire temporary staff with the maximum term of a year. In 2007 the term was extended to three years in the manufacturing sector, too.
Now the bill was approved to enable employers to use and sack dispatched workers freely without limitation. The ruling LDP and the Komeito have successfully achieved that with tenaciousness after the two times of failure in the past years.
Thus, the Japanese society will be flooded with unsteady workers. Young people might see the military, or the Self Defense Forces of Japan, as a stable workplace. The Abe government, eager in enforcing laws to commit in wars, is contemplating a draft system to attract the poor, which is practiced by the US government in that country.
September 22, 2015