Ja­pan firms’ safety fail­ures point to deeper malaise

Iran Daily - - Tse & Global Economy -

A se­ries of safety scan­dals at Ja­panese com­pa­nies have put the coun­try’s li­on­ized fac­tory floor un­der scru­tiny as man­u­fac­tur­ers strug­gle with in­creased pres­sure on costs, stricter en­force­ment of stan­dards and grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

With mar­gins squeezed by a stag­nant do­mes­tic mar­ket and ri­valry from China and South Korea, many fac­to­ries have cut costs, re­duc­ing their re­liance on work­ers in life­time em­ploy­ment in fa­vor of la­bor­ers on tem­po­rary con­tracts, Reuters wrote.

As they have done so, safety scan­dals have erupted across the coun­try’s much-vaunted man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, with Subaru Corp. on Fri­day join­ing Nis­san Mo­tor Co. Ltd. in ad­mit­ting it failed to fol­low proper ve­hi­cle in­spec­tion pro­ce­dures.

Ear­lier this month, Ja­pan’s third­largest steel­maker, Kobe Steel Ltd., said its work­ers had tam­pered with prod­uct spec­i­fi­ca­tions for years, leav­ing com­pa­nies around the world scram­bling to ver­ify the safety of cars, planes, trains and elec­tri­cal goods.

Un­able to eas­ily lay off ‘reg­u­lar’ em­ploy­ees, full-time em­ploy­ees with per­ma­nent con­tracts and pay scales based on se­nior­ity that formed the heart of Ja­pan’s post-war work­force, com­pa­nies have in­creas­ingly come to rely on ‘non-reg­u­lar’ work­ers — temps, part-timers and short-term con­tract work­ers.

These non-reg­u­lar work­ers al­low com­pa­nies to cut costs and ad­just their work­force, said Koji Mo­rioka, emer­i­tus pro­fes­sor at Kan­sai Uni­ver­sity and an ex­pert on work­place is­sues. But it has led to a de-skilling of the fac­tory floor, low­er­ing stan­dards and in­creas­ing the like­li­hood of wrong­do­ing and ac­ci­dents, he said.

“The use of these ‘dis­pos­able’ work­ers is greatly in­creas­ing,” Mo­rioka said. “The loss of ex­pe­ri­enced, skilled work­ers on the fac­tory floor is be­com­ing more and more risky.”

The share of non-reg­u­lar work­ers in the la­bor force has risen from 20 per­cent in the early 1990s to a record 37.5 per­cent last year — with the pro­por­tion in some com­pa­nies higher still.

The pay gap is stark, with reg­u­lar work­ers last year on av­er­age paid 321,700 yen (£2,095) monthly com­pared with 211,800 yen for con­tract work­ers.

Turk­ish Lira Euro Bri­tish Pound Aus­tralian Dol­lar Cana­dian Dol­lar Crude Oil Gold Cop­per 0.2637 1.1609 1.3128 0.7684 0.7810 $54.19 $1274.60 $3.10 Ja­panese 100 Yen Chi­nese Yuan UAE Dirham Kuwaiti Di­nar Iraqi 100 Di­nar Sil­ver Plat­inum Wheat 0.8797 0.1503 0.2723 3.2973 0.0853 $16.87 $919.70 $427.50

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iran

© PressReader. All rights reserved.