Plight of workers

…the shift from permanent employment toward part-time and temporary hiring that emerged during the prolonged economic slump has not been reversed, despite the economic turnaround Japan has seen in the past several years.

Many people who failed to land full-time jobs after college graduation are now stuck in nonregular positions as they grow older.

Unlike regular employees, temporary and part-time workers live under the constant threat of job loss.

Their wages are often too low to live a decent life.

This situation clearly represents a major turnaround in the national labor policy. And the government is finally beginning to look more closely at the way many companies hire workers today.

The debate centers on what to do about this dire situation that temporary workers face, including the much-criticized practice of using day laborers.

But day labor dispatch is not the only problem.

An important question is how to steer many in the swollen ranks of nonpermanent workers into full-time jobs.

What must be done to bring wages and working conditions for nonregular workers closer to those of permanent employees?

Labor groups and management have disagreed bitterly on many of these issues. But all parties concerned must now tackle such tough issues head-on.

In an ideal world, each worker would find fulfillment in job satisfaction and have a sense of security. Such a situation would also offer long-term benefits for companies.

Policy efforts addressing this country’s job situation should be designed to pursue this hopeful vision of employment.