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No increase in government employee wages


For the first time in two years, the National Personnel Authority on August 11 recommended no increase in the salaries of national public service employees while shortening their working hours by 15 minutes from the current eight hours a day.


In Japan, the National Personnel Authority recommendation has been used to determine the wage level for public service employees, who are not granted full basic labor rights.


In recommending that there be no pay raise for government workers, the National Personnel Authority said that a survey shows that the wage difference between the public sector and the private sector is just 136 yen.


It also called for a new benefit system to be established for employees working at ministries in Tokyo in order to solve the difficulty of keeping personnel due to increasing overtime work. However, there is a concern that it will widen the wage gap between Tokyo and local offices.


Moreover, the recommendation says that the government should establish guidelines for improving working conditions of part-time employees in the public sector.


On August 11, two national centers, the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) Secretary General and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), criticized the National Personnel Authority recommendation.


They criticized the recommendation of no pay raise for the national public workers and urged the government to restore basic labor rights for public service employees immediately and replace the National Personnel Authority recommendation system with a system to determine wages in collective bargaining.


They welcomed the recommendation of shorter working hours being a result of the movement.


Both the Liaison Committee for National Public Employeesf Unions and the Rengo-affiliated Liaison Organization for National Public Workersf Unions criticized the recommendation for failing to respond to the needs of workers to prevent their livelihoods from being worsened through wage pegs.


Regarding a new benefit system for employees working at central offices of ministries, they pointed out that this system will widen the wage gap between workers in head offices and workers working at local offices, while the system will not help to reduce overtime work.


They said that shortening working hours by 15 minutes and the establishment of the guideline for wage determination of non-regular workers in the public sector are the fruits of their tenacious struggles.


They emphasized that they will further develop their struggles by calling on the government to swiftly implement the recommendations.      

- Akahata, August 12-13, 2008

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