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Nissan staff 'OK to moonlight'

By Peter Nunn, 12 Mar 2009 Industry

Nissan staff 'OK to moonlight'

More signs of belt-tightening in Japan, with Nissan employees given the green light to moonlight while the company is quiet. Peter Nunn reports from Tokyo.

You've heard about all the workaholics in Japan, those dedicated office workers who stay at their desks all hours, toiling away for the prosperity of the company.

Now comes some stunning news out of corporate Japan. At Nissan, at least, it's OK now for staff to Moonlight: that is, for them to find second jobs to make ends meet in the current economic doom and gloom.

Nissan, like all makers, is slowing production and idling plants to cope with plummeting sales. As a result, wages are being cut too, in some cases by up to 20 percent. .

One way to compensate is to let factory workers find second jobs to make up for the financial shortfall. Some Nissan admin staff in its Tokyo HQ might also soon come under the scheme.

The extraordinary idea, agreed with the labour union's consent, is thought to be the first of its kind on corporate Japan: it's certainly a dramatic first among Japan's top car makers. Yes, workers are being allowed to do jobs on the side, but so long as working hours don't exceed eight hours a day. First they must also report to the company what it is they are going to do.

Moonlighting is officially verboten at Nissan but the company has decided to approve it for now "as an emergency step," a Nissan told the press..

On current plans, Nissan will slash Japanese production by as much as 50 per cent to cope with the global sales collapse. Times really toughening up in Japan.