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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 January 18 - 24  > 2017 spring struggle for 20,000 yen monthly wage hike begins
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2017 January 18 - 24 [LABOR]

2017 spring struggle for 20,000 yen monthly wage hike begins

January 19 & 20, 2017
Union workers on January 19 held a rally in front of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) building in Tokyo, declaring the start of a series of annual wage hike actions, the 2017 Spring Struggle.

The People’s Spring Struggle Joint Committee, consisting of independent unions and the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)-affiliated unions, resolved to win an increase in hourly wages by at least 150 yen and in monthly income by at least 20,000 yen for all workers.

Zenroren President Odagawa Yoshikazu referred to Keidanren’s strategy for this year’s spring wage talks which was published two days earlier. Odagawa criticized Japan’s largest business lobby for maintaining its stance to limit pay raises. The amount held by large corporations in internal reserves reached a record high of 313 trillion yen while workers’ real wages have kept going down. The Zenroren head emphasized the need to achieve an across-the-board basic wage hike.

Secretary General of the Japan Metal, Manufacturing, Information and Telecommunication Workers’ Union (JMITU) Kasase Takashi said that large corporations’ reluctance to provide higher wages to workers has brought about the current downward trend in personal consumption.

At the end of the rally, the participants shouted in chorus, “Use a portion of the internal reserves to increase wages!” and “Corporations must fulfill their corporate responsibility to maintain jobs!”

* * *

ILO raises alert in regard to declining wages in Japan

The International Labour Organization (ILO) at the end of 2016 released its Global Wage Report 2016/2017. In the report, the ILO pointed out that while wages in developed G20 countries increased, real wages in Japan declined.

The biennial report on world wages indicated that workers’ wages went up between 2013 and 2015 in the United States, Germany, France, and in South Korea. In contrast, in Japan, wages went down in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, they rose slightly.

The report ran an article featuring Japan’s declining wages and deflation. The article states that the “risk of disinflation leading to deflation has recently increased in many countries.” It went on to state that under this circumstance, “Falling wages can then themselves become an important factor in a deflationary process, as lower wages lead to lower prices and a deflationary wage-price sets in.”

Past related articles:
> Large corporations’ internal reserves hit record high while workers’ wages decline [September 2, 2016]
> Keidanren in wage negotiation guidelines takes hostile stance toward elimination of wage gaps [January 20, 2016]
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