The Japanese division of Swedish furniture chain IKEA recently announced that they will make large changes to their job descriptions including the elimination of fixed-term contracts for part-time workers.
The new job descriptions are said to begin this September and aim to create equal treatment for their 3,400 employees in Japan. Reports suggest that they may raise the salaries of all part-time staff who make up 70% of the company’s work force.
IKEA Japan said that they were interviewing both part-time and full-time workers to make their decisions. One such change is reported to be the end of six-month contracts that part-timers currently enter into when joining the company. Also, the most popular shop to buy a Bjursta is intending to change the hourly wage of part-time workers to be more in line with the salary of full-time workers.
Most people who heard about the announcement were skeptical about the retailer’s true intentions with these changes. “In other words, employees can be fired at any time now,” wrote one netizen. Others wondered where the money would come from to pay for these changes writing, “no bonuses anymore” and “I guess this means even cheaper plywood furniture that breaks easily.”
However, some took IKEA Japan at its word and offered words of support such as “I’m going to IKEA from now on.” and “It will be interesting to see what effect this will have on sales.”
A spokesperson from IKEA told Asahi Shimbun, “We aren’t lowering the salary of full-time workers, so that means we will be raising the wages of part-time staff.” However, we will have to see this autumn whether IKEA’s move is purely in the best interests of their Japanese staff or if netizens’ suspicions of shady dealings are correct. If the chain does end up creating a revolutionary work environment in Japan, why I might just have to go down and pick up a Hjuvik myself.