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Dispatch Workers Show Dissatisfaction with Wages
and Other Working Conditions: They Want Stable Employment

The results of a 2012 survey of dispatch workers, announced by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) in September 2013, shed light on the actual conditions of dispatch workers in Japan.
The average hourly wage of dispatch workers is 1,351yen. By wage distribution, 29.9%, the highest ratio, receives between 1,000yen and less than 1,250yen, followed by 20.2% each for between 1,250yen and less than 1,500 yen and less than 1,000 yen. By gender, the average hourly wage is 1,495yen for men and 1,236yen for women. Wage distribution by gender shows clearly that the ratio of men increases in the higher hourly wage brackets.
Although it is a simple comparison not considering such factors as age, length of employment, and job content, a comparison of the wages of dispatch workers with the average monthly wages of part-time workers and regular (mainly full-time) employees (excluding bonuses) shows that the wages of dispatch workers fall midway between those of part-time workers and regular employees. According to a basic statistical survey of the wage structure conducted by the MHLW for 2012, the average ordinary hourly wage of regular employees is 1,804yen (all industries) and that of part-time workers is 1,026yen (all industries).
Asked about their evaluation of their wages, 35.1% of the responding dispatch workers replied "dissatisfied," 34.9% "satisfied," and 27.2% "cannot say which." Asked about their reasons, 29.9%, of the dispatch workers replying that they were dissatisfied, the highest ratio, said "because my wage is lower than those of directly hired workers doing the same job in the same workplace," which indicates that they are conscious of the lack of equality and fairness in working conditions. Other relatively frequently cited reasons were "because my wage does not correspond with my work volume" (23.9%) and "because my wage does not correspond with my abilities and job content" (19.5%), indicating that many dispatch workers do not feel that their work volume and abilities are being properly compensated.
Asked how they wanted to work in the future, 43.1% of the respondents replied "as a dispatch worker" and an almost equal 43.2% "as a regular employee, not a dispatch worker." Of those who said they wanted to continue working as a dispatch worker, 80.4% said they wanted to work "as a regularly employed dispatch worker" and 19.6% "as a registered dispatch worker."* In particular, 90.8% of the men expressed a desire to work "as a regularly employed dispatch worker." In other words, the survey reveals that even people who opt to be dispatch workers desire the stable regularly employed type of employment rather than the unstable registration type. When those respondents saying that they hoped to work as regular employees are added, the survey shows that more than three-quarters of the respondents desire stable employment.

*Under the registration system, the dispatch worker registers with a dispatch business, but an employment contract is only concluded when work at a recipient company is decided. The duration of the worker's employment contract with the dispatch business is the same as the duration of dispatch to the recipient company. Wages and employment are guaranteed only during the period of this employment contract.

Patterns of Employment Desired by Dispatch Workers

  Total ratio Want to work as dispatch worker Want to work as regularly employed dispatch worker Want to work as registered dispatch worker Want to work as regular employee,
not dispatch worker
Want to work as part-time or other nonregular employee, not dispatch worker Others
Total 100.0 43.1 (100.0) (80.4) (19.6) 43.2 4.2 4.5
Men 100.0 46.5 (100.0) (90.8) (9.2) 41.5 1.1 4.9
Women 100.0 40.5 (100.0) (71.1) (28.9) 44.7 6.6 4.2
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