A mobile, disposable work force

Indications of deteriorating working conditions are coming to light at workplaces across the nation as the result of a practice that has become a social issue: More and more manufacturing companies are bringing in contract workers (ukeoi) to have them work like temporary workers (haken) — as if dispatched from staffing agencies — but without haken benefits.

For laymen, the legal difference between these two types of workers is a bit hard to understand.

But the practice not only is illegal and responsible for low wages — usually about half or less of regular-employee wages — but also leads to worker instability. Companies should quit the habit, and the labor standards inspection offices should crack down on violators.