Temps a threatened species as job cuts bite

One of the biggest [problems that temp workers face] is what experts have dubbed “The Year 2009 Problem.”

The three-year contracts many temps signed in 2006 will run out next year.

After media reports exposed the unfair hiring practices of such major manufacturers as Panasonic Corp. and Canon Inc., many workers signed three-year contracts in 2006.

Under normal contracting practices, a smaller contractor independently manufactures parts for larger manufacturers. But by disguising the terms of their contracting, major manufacturers were avoiding paying higher salaries and administrative costs by having temps work directly at their facilities.

Although manufacturers are obliged to directly employ temp workers after three years, it is unlikely they will hire them as full-timers to avoid a payroll increase.

The current massive layoffs, however, are taking place even before the contracts run out due to the economic downturn triggered by the global financial crisis.