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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 8 - 14  > Unions hold day of action to have employers implement drastic wage hike
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2017 March 8 - 14 [LABOR]

Unions hold day of action to have employers implement drastic wage hike

March 9, 2017
Seeking to pressure employers to accept union demands in this year’s wage talks (shunto), the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) together with independent unions staged a day of action in Tokyo on March 8, a week before the response to demands deadline given to most companies.

The National Federation of Consumers’ Cooperatives Workers’ Unions (Seikyo-roren) held a demonstration in Ginza, one of the affluent shopping districts in Tokyo, calling for a drastic increase in minimum wages. Following the rhythm of the music from a leading pickup truck, union workers holding colorful balloons and placards shouted in chorus, “Raise the minimum hourly wage to 1,500 yen!” A 26-year-old delivery driver said, “A wage hike is vital to help resolve staff shortages.”

During a lunch break, a rally hosted by the People’s Spring Struggle Joint Committee consisting of Zenrorn-affiliated unions and independent unions took place at Hibiya Amphitheater with 2,300 people participating.

Zenroren President Odagawa Yoshikazu on behalf of the organizer delivered a speech. Odagawa pointed out that it has become clear that Prime Minister Abe’s economic policies delivered a damaging blow to workers, and stressed the importance of winning a fundamental pay raise in this year’s shunto struggle. Zenroren is demanding an increase in hourly wages by 150 yen and in monthly pay by 20,000 yen. Odagawa also criticized the Abe government for trying to ease labor rules under the pretext of a “work-style” reform which will drive more workers to deaths from overwork.

Representatives of various unions appeared on the stage to express their determination to achieve the goal of obtaining a substantial pay hike.

Secretary General of the Japan Metal, Manufacturing, Information and Telecommunication Workers’ Union (JMITU) Kasase Takashi reported that some JMITU locals already received from companies an offer of a more than 10,000 yen increase in monthly wages. Kasase said, “We will continue working hard in order to win higher wages for all JMITU members.”

Saita Kimio, secretary general of the Japan Federation of Commercial Broadcasting Workers’ Unions (Minpo-roren), said, “In the broadcasting industry, those who work as an assistant director make ends meet by working lots of overtime. Minpo-roren will make utmost efforts to realize a significant increase in regional minimum wages and establish a minimum wage for broadcast media workers.”

Past related articles:
> Unions ready for this year’s spring labor-management wage negotiations [February 2, 2017]
> 2017 spring struggle for 20,000 yen monthly wage hike begins [January 19 & 20, 2017]
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