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Toyota To Hire 4,000 Temporary Japanese Workers

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 4:30am
Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota said it will hire 3,000 to 4,000 temporary workers in Japan to be ready for a recovery in vehicle production as automakers bounce back from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Toyota Motor Corp. will start recruiting the factory workers in July, as production is now gradually recovering and expected to surge by October, company spokesman Shigehiko Okamura said Tuesday.

Production at Toyota and other Japanese automakers dived after the disaster because of a shortage of key parts from suppliers in the northeastern region devastated by the magnitude-9.0 quake.

Auto manufacturing is expected to be back at pre-disaster levels in the latter half of the year.

Toyota, which employs 69,000 people in Japan, now has about 950 temporary assembly line workers, after not renewing contracts that ran out after the disaster.

Temporary workers are on a different, more flexible contract from other employees to adjust to production fluxes and save costs. The practice is common at Japanese plants, although it has sometimes been criticized as unfair.

During its boom years peaking in 2005, Toyota had more than 11,000 such temporary line workers.

But Toyota's production was hurt, first by the global financial crisis in 2008, and then by massive global recalls that began two years ago.

The disaster, which killed more than 23,000 people, sent three nuclear reactors into meltdowns, causing a power crunch that may also hamper manufacturing.

Nissan Motor Co., whose domestic production has also been hurt by the disaster, said it will hire more assembly line workers to keep up with recovering demand.

Honda Motor Co., which had to let go of all its temporary line workers after the disaster, is also looking to hire them back, and add workers, as the parts shortage gets fixed, it said.

Nissan and Honda did not yet have a number for the workers getting hired in coming months.

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