New York Times (August 16) carries an article reporting Sonny’s case of establishing “the boredom Room” to accommodate ‘regular’ employees whom they want to get rid of under the title, “Layoffs taboo, Japan workers are sent to the Boredom Room.”
Ahead of this article, the Asahi, a leading Japanese newspaper ran a campaign recently against the prevailing practices of Japanese big companies such as Panasonic, Sonny, Toshiba, Sharp, NEC, Ricoh, Fuji Zerox, IBM Japan and Asahi Life Insurance installing so-called “追い出し部屋 – Oidashibeya (chase-out room by its literal translation)” to streamline workforces under the titles of “Career Challenge Program,” “Career Development (Design) Room,” and “New Business Exploitation Room.”
As the firing and layoffs of regular employees for the employers’ one-sided reasons or convenience is strictly restricted by law, big companies have worked out the idea of setting up “chase-out room,” where they pen employees whom they no longer want to keep and wait them voluntarily leave the company.
‘Oidashibeya’ is not necessarily “boredom room” where occupants are not given job assignment. They are more often given never-achievable, heavy work quota on the contrary, and demanded by the managers to achieve it, or resign the company.
I don’t know whether such cruel labor conditions and irregular working system exist in any of English speaking countries or not. But I’m curious to know what is the right English counterpart to the word, ‘Oidashibeya’– chase (or force)-out room aside “Boredom Room,” which reflects only an aspect of the cruelty of ‘Oidashibeya.’
I was surprised to see an inhuman description of reassignment unit which I’d never fancied when I was in office in this article. It says:
“The United Auto Workers and automakers had created, under union contracts, places where idled workers were essentially warehoused.”
The New York City Department of Education has a similar institution, reassignment centers, where teachers accused of misconduct are sent while their cases are resolved. Teachers refer to them as the Rubber Room:-
Allegedly intended to serve as temporary holding facilities for
teachers accused of various kinds of misconduct who are awaiting an
official hearing, these reassignment centers have become known amongst
the “exiled” teachers subculture as “rubber rooms”, so named after the
padded cells of psychiatric hospitals.
I’d suggest that if you called your Boredom Room the Rubber Room, most people would understand what you meant.