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Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009

Fujitsu allows workers to moonlight to make ends meet

Staff writer

In a sign of the times, major electronics firm Fujitsu Ltd. is allowing some of its factory workers to hold second jobs to compensate for shorter working hours and lower wages amid the deepening recession, the company said Wednesday.

The majority of 5,000 full-time factory employees at Fujitsu Microelectronics Ltd., a subsidiary Fujitsu firm that makes semiconductors, have been permitted to work outside their main jobs since January, as an exceptional revision of regulations.

"The operation rate declined due to falling sales, and labor hours per worker fell by a third, and consequently salaries have lowered, too," said Makoto Koshi, a spokesman for Fujitsu.

"To avoid job cuts, we changed the daily labor division from four teams doing two shifts to six teams working three shifts, and to supplement the reduced wages, we began permitting sideline jobs," Koshi said.

Employees eligible under the new regulations work at three factories, in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture; Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture; and Kanegasaki, Iwate Prefecture.

Both the revised work roster and permission to hold second jobs will be reassessed at the end of March.

Fujitsu Microelectronics is due to log a loss of about ¥60 billion this fiscal year ending in March, Koshi said.

"We are looking to improve the labor structure, for example by reorganizing manufacturing lines in the three factories and reposting 2,000 workers within Fujitsu Group," he said.

Fujitsu permitted employees to have side jobs for a few months in 2001 and 2002, along with other electronics makers, after the burst of the IT bubble economy.

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The Japan Times

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