The Research Institute for Advancement of Living Standards (RIALS), a think tank of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), has announced the results of the first Survey on Employment Patterns and Attitudes of Nonregular Workers, conducted in October of last year in conjunction with RENGO’s Center for Nonregular Workers.
In the survey, 30% of respondents working in nonregular jobs replied that they wanted to work as regular employees but had not been able to find a job. The ratio of male respondents replying that they wanted regular jobs was about 52%, which shows the reality that many people actually have no option but to take nonregular work. The survey also revealed that more than half of the male respondents, and 30% of the female respondents, were the main breadwinners in their households. As the number of nonregular workers continues to increase, clearly it is necessary to review the definition of nonregular work, which until now has been seen as playing just a supplementary role in the household budget.
Furthermore, the survey revealed the economic difficulties faced by nonregular workers. Regarding wage income over the past year, about 76.1% of the respondents earned less than 2 million yen, and only 1.6% earned more than 4 million yen, which is the average annual income of regular employees. About 40% of the nonregular respondents who were the main breadwinners in their households reported a loss in their total household accounts for the past year.
Regarding the employment patterns of dispatch and other nonregular workers, although some observers point out that the diversification of workers’ needs is advancing, the survey showed clearly that this factor does not apply in the case of many male nonregular workers.
Meanwhile, 65.7% of respondents working at places with unions and 52.4% of respondents working at places without unions replied that they understood the need for labour unions.
RENGO established the Center for Nonregular Workers in October 2007 to promote improvement of the wages and working conditions of nonregular workers and to build networks. The center investigates the working conditions and realities of nonregular workers, conducts a campaign to raise the base level of working conditions, and uses the Internet to transmit information.
In the 2015 spring struggle, RENGO aims to improve the working conditions of both regular and nonregular workers. In particular, in order to correct the gap between regular and nonregular workers, RENGO has set priority issues from the perspective of equal treatment and is campaigning to realize such goals as wage hikes and the introduction and clarification of rules for wage increases, as well as the thorough implementation of compliance.