Starbucks Japan Decides to Promote Temporary Workers

March 30, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

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

1. promote /prəˈmoʊt/ (v.) – to move someone to a higher position or status
Example: The cashier was promoted to supervisor after years of hard work.

2. abolish /əˈbɒlɪʃ/ (v.) – to stop or make something end
Example: The company will soon abolish the age-limit policy.

3. uplift /ʌpˈlɪft/ (v.) – to make someone feel good
Example: The manager says kind words to uplift the employees’ mood.

4. touch /tʌtʃ/ (v.) – to affect someone’s emotion
Example: The beggar’s story touched many people.

5. skeptical /ˈskɛptɪkəl/ (adj.) – being doubtful about something
Example: The workers felt skeptical with the company’s new policy.


Read the text below.
Starbucks Japan, which currently has 1,800 part time workers, announced in a TV interview of the company’s decision to promote 800 temporary workers to full-time employees by April 1.

The company’s first branch in Japan opened in 1996 and since then, Starbucks expanded its business by opening over 1,000 shops in the country. To match the Japanese culture they even managed to step up their menu by incorporating seasonal flavors and alcoholic beverages.

Aside from the promotion, the company also plans to open only full-time positions and stop hiring the so-called “permatemp” employees. These are employees who have worked under the same company for many years without having the same benefits of a full-time worker.

The 800 permatemp workers up for promotion will get the same payment, benefits, and rights of a full-time worker. Thus, the company expects that this move will lead to happier employees and lower resignation number. Part-time employment is still available today but the company hopes to gradually abolish it.

While the news would surely uplift employees, the announcement also touched TV viewers and coffee consumers. One commenter said that the news made Starbucks his new favorite coffee place. Some viewers also try to encourage others to buy more products in Starbucks in support of its decision to improve employees’ benefits.

However, some people felt skeptical with the news. A commenter worried that some part-time workers might be terminated to give way to more full-time employees. Another person was concerned that this decision might discourage Starbucks workers from finding a better career.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think about Starbucks plan?
·         How will this initiative affect other coffee shops in Japan?

Discussion B

·         Why should companies prioritize the rights of employees?
·         In what other ways can companies ensure employees’ job satisfaction?


March 30, 2014