[EDITORIALS]Labor Ministry ignores realityThe Ministry of Labor has said they will turn 100,000 part-time workers into permanent workers, as part of its solution to part-timers’ low wages and unstable positions. This is a short-term and unprincipled course of action. It could be viewed suspiciously as pandering to voters before general elections next month.
The rise of part-time workers in the public sector is the result of increasing efficiency in the government and using taxpayers’ money more effectively. Only a few years ago, the government tried to solve the inefficiency of the public sector by creating part-time work there. The results increased efficiency and saved money.
Now the government is going to turn back the clock and automatically renew the contracts of 100,000 part-timers. This goes against the principle of small government. What if the 230,000 part-time workers in the public sector demand the full-time positions? Eventually the burden will fall on the taxpayers.
This not only applies to the public sector but the 5 million part-time workers in the nation, which have become the focus of debate this spring. Both umbrella unions have demanded that part-timers’ conditions improve, which is not possible for corporations to accept. This will undoubtedly lead to clashes this spring. For the Labor Ministry to lead the way in making the part timers permanent workers is to completely ignore our economic reality.
The fundamental solution to the problem of part-time workers lies in the flexibility of the labor market and the recovery of the economy. If the labor market is flexible, the productivity of corporations will increase and thus lead to an improving economy and increased employment. Then the issue of part-time workers will not be such a problem.
In a situation where unions in large corporations refuse to give up their vested rights and high wages, where permanent workers cannot be fired at will, how is it possible to turn all part-timers into a permanent workforce? If this were to happen, where would corporate competitiveness come from?
The Ministry of Labor needs to make our situation comprehensible to the unions. The first priority should be to diminish unions’ rights. After that, the government should seek cooperation from businesses.