800 temporary workers at a Toyota plant in Japan were laid off yesterday:
Japanese automaker Toyota has laid off 800 people at a plant in southwestern Japan, or about 10 percent of the plant’s work force, in response to declining sales in North America, a company official said Tuesday.
All the job cuts — carried out in June and August at Toyota Motor Corp.‘s wholly owned subsidiary Toyota Motor Kyushu — applied to workers sent by job-referral agencies. Japanese companies are increasingly relying on such agencies for temporary workers called “haken” to be flexible to market demand.
Prior to the layoffs, Toyota Motor Kyushu, which makes Lexus luxury models, had employed 8,200 workers — 1,950 of them haken — an official said on condition of anonymity, citing company policy.
The official said the job cuts were temporary and 500 haken workers will be brought back later this year. He declined to comment on why they would be needed back, saying product plans can’t be released.
Just looking at the first six months of Lexus sales, it’s not surprising that a workforce adjustment was necessary. (The article also talks about the concept of Haken workers in Japan, which I found very interesting.)