Goodwill pulls plug on temp agency

Kyodo News

Goodwill Group Inc. liquidated its subsidiary Goodwill Inc., a staffing service agency, on Thursday following a series of scandals involving illegally dispatched workers.

Goodwill Group announced the liquidation plan on June 25 in light of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry’s likely move to revoke the company’s license after the subsidiary and three of its employees were found guilty of involvement in subcontracting temporary workers in violation of the Employment Security Law.

Also on June 25, the Tokyo Summary Court ordered the subsidiary to pay ¥1 million in fines, while the three workers were each ordered to pay ¥500,000 to ¥1 million in penalties. The staffing agency and the workers all made the payments.

The worker dispatch law stipulates that a business entity found guilty and slapped with a fine or heavier punishment is subject to having its license revoked.

Goodwill Group said earlier, upon liquidating the subsidiary, that it would do its utmost to find employment for Goodwill workers and ask client companies to take on the temp workers.

According to Goodwill, 1,600 dispatch workers out of 6,000 registered with the subsidiary had been directly hired by client companies by late July, while 2,000 had become registered dispatch workers at other temp services.

However, the fate of about 2,400 workers remains uncertain as they are either unemployed or have declined to take the company’s offer of mediation for new jobs, the company said.

Most of the 4,200 regular employees and temporary staff at Goodwill had left the company by the end of July, according to the company.

Goodwill has offered them job information, but some are having difficulty finding new positions as the fact that they worked for the scandal-tainted Goodwill is being regarded unfavorably by potential employers, according to sources.

In January, the labor ministry ordered Goodwill, which was launched in 1995 by former Goodwill Group Chairman Masahiro Origuchi, to suspend its labor dispatch business following a series of law violations.

The illegal practices by Goodwill prompted the government to consider a legal change to ban staffing firms from dispatching people for day-labor jobs to strengthen protection of temporary workers.