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Sharp jettisons temporary workers

December 5, 2018

Sharp’s head office

The company has restructured its manufacturing plant in Japan, cutting the jobs of over 3,000 foreign temporary workers.

The job losses came as Sharp transitioned the production of its iPhone sensors to a Chinese facility, as Nikkei Asian Review reports.

Originally, the company’s Japanese plant won the contract to assemble the sensors in 2017, and in order to maximise production, “ramped up hiring of foreign workers, many of Japanese descent”.

By late 2017, the company had taken on “roughly 4,000”. But this year, the company’s Taiwanese parent, Foxxconn, elected to move the production of the sensors to “a group factory in China”, meaning those jobs were no longer necessary.

These 3,000 job cuts are occurring in the middle of “a national labour shortage”, and “illustrate how such employment is often at the mercy of manufacturers’ production cycles.”

“The layoffs came as a shock,” commented a Japanese-Bolivian woman at a recent news conference in Tokyo, organised by labour groups.

These are not the only cuts Sharp has made under the auspices of Foxxconn, with the OEM also making the choice this year to cease refrigerator production in Osaka.

As of October 2017, Japan had 1.27 million foreign workers, many of them Brazilians and Peruvians of Japanese descent. However, “the flow of foreign workers with Japanese descent has often been treated like a faucet – opened when labour is needed and closed when not.”

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