Volunteers set up job center for temps in Osaka

OSAKA (Kyodo) With no end in sight to the recession, a weekend event to support temporary workers who have lost or are close to losing their jobs kicked off Saturday in Osaka.

Dubbed “Sodan Mura Kansai” (“Counseling Village Kansai”), the support center in Nishi Ward is the second of its kind since the tent village erected in Tokyo’s Hibiya Park over the New Year holidays.

Volunteers are spending the weekend helping displaced temps find new jobs and accommodations and offering advice to those on the firing line on how to counter their employers.

Meals for hundreds of people are also being offered.

The event was organized by five labor unions in the Kansai region, with advice from those who set up the tent village in Tokyo’s Hibiya Park over the New Year holidays, they said.

Group leader Naohiro Nishiyama, 41, warned that the event is only the beginning and that the worst is yet to come.

“We hope this event will lead to greater assistance for displaced workers,” Nishiyama said. “Their numbers are expected to rise in the near future.”

The organizers said that they expect unemployment to surge at the end of March, when the business year ends for most Japanese firms. Most will be temporary workers whose contracts were not extended.

As soon as the telephone counseling service was set up at 10 a.m., the center was flooded with calls from workers facing the ax.