Major companies offer no wage raise

Major Japanese automobile and electronics corporations on March 13 offered no increases in the monthly wage base to their respective unions affiliated with the Japan Council of Metal Workers' Unions (IMF-JC).

If the offer is accepted, the average wage hike rate will likely mark the lowest for five consecutive years.

Except for Nissan Motors Co., all automakers including Toyota Motor Co. offered a zero percent wage hike.

Top automaker Toyota, which estimates a record pretax profit of more than 1 trillion yen for the year to March 31 on a consolidated basis, only promised a regularly scheduled monthly wage hike of 6,500 yen (50 dollars).

The management maintained that the current situation hardly allows them to raise base wages under the pretext that Japan must immediately reconstruct its international competitive power.

As the amount of annual bonuses, Nippon Steel Corp. offered 1.13 million yen (8,692 dollars), down 250,000 yen (1,923 dollars) from the previous year, and electronics firms Hitachi Ltd.. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. each offered an amount four times of monthly payments, one month down from that of last year.

Akahata of March 14 said that such dismal offers to workers show that major orporations are firmly opposed to workers' demands for a wage increase even when they are reaping huge profits.

Many unions actually gave up calling for monthly wage icnreases as a trade-off for "job security," which disabled the IMF-JC from making a unified demand for a monthly wage hike. Major firms fully made use of this weak point, Akahata said.

The Joint Struggle Council for Victory of the People's Spring Struggle, which is composed of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) and others, are going to engage in various actions, including strike struggles across the nation, calling on workers to refuse the unacceptable management offers. (end)