IKEA Japan to Revise Part-Time Staff Contracts

June 9, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. mega-retailer [MEH-gah - REE-teyl-er] (n.) – 
a company that directly sells products to the public in a large scale
Example: The company is considered a mega-retailer for having the largest market share.

2. revise [ri-VAHYZ] (v.) – to apply changes to something
Example: She resigned after her employer revised the terms of the contract without her knowledge.

3. cast doubts on [kast douts on] (idiom) – to cause something to be questioned or be doubted by someone
Example: The customer casted doubts on the product’s quality.

4. forgo [fawr-GOH] (v.) – to stop using something
Example: To cut the costs, the company chose to forgo paying their interns.  

5. workforce [work-fohrs] (n.) – the sum of workers or staff in a company
Example: The company’s workforce consists of only a hundred people.


Read the text below.
In April, mega-retailer IKEA [ee-KEY-ya] Japan announced its intention to revise the job descriptions of its employees. The changes will concern mainly the part-time staff.

These changes include the removal of fixed-term contracts, which ensure part-time employees' job security for at least six months. Also, the hourly wage for part-time workers will be increased to make it equal to the wages of full-time employees. 

In response to these revisions, some people are casting doubts on IKEA’s motives. Some expressed that the company can terminate people whenever it pleases if it forgoes fixed-term contracts. Others are questioning where IKEA will get funds for these changes and how these revisions will affect the quality of the products.

Nevertheless, there are those who support the company’s plans. They think that the changes will serve a beneficial outcome not only for retailer’s sales but also for its employees. Some became more interested in purchasing products from IKEA. On the other hand, others are excited to see what will happen with the company’s sales.

IKEA took into consideration both the management and the staff’s opinion. To reach an objective decision, the company interviewed both its part-time and full-time employees.

IKEA’s spokesperson mentioned that the company aims to establish equality among its employees, since part-time staff make up seventy percent of the company’s workforce. Though the revisions are still under consideration, it has been reported that the new job descriptions will be implemented in September.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How do you think IKEA’s employees will respond to these changes?
·         Do you think IKEA made a good decision? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Do you think part-time and full-time workers should have equal benefits? Please explain your answer.
·         Which do you think a company should prioritize, its employees or its sales? Why?

June 9, 2014