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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 March 14 - 20  > Large corporations’ 1,500-yen pay hike offer is insufficient to enable Japan’s economic recovery
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2018 March 14 - 20 [LABOR]

Large corporations’ 1,500-yen pay hike offer is insufficient to enable Japan’s economic recovery

March 16, 2018

Large corporations in key industrial sectors such as automobile, electronics, and steel on March 14 offered a 1,500-yen raise in the monthly base pay in their 2018 “shunto” spring wage negotiations. The offered pay raise, however, is insufficient to enable a recovery of the economy and better workers’ livelihoods.

In this year’s wage talks, unions in major auto and electronics manufacturers, which are affiliated with the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-Rengo), set a goal to achieve a monthly base wage increase of at least 3,000 yen, the same amount as the 2017 demand.

Toyota Motor, whose response acts as a yardstick for other companies’ talks, agreed to increase the monthly wage by 1,300 yen. Nissan accepted the 3,000-yen pay raise demand. Honda offered to increase its monthly wage by 1,700 yen, up 200 yen from the previous year.

In the electronics machinery industry, Hitachi, Panasonic, and Mitsubishi settled their wage talks with an offer of a 1,500-yen raise in monthly wages, up 500 yen from a year earlier. Toshiba and Sharp, which skipped wage negotiations last year due to financial difficulties, this year announced a pay raise of 1,500 yen a month.

As for the iron and steel industry where wage negotiations are held every two years, Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corporation, JFE Steel Corporation, and Kobe Steel reached a conclusion that they will increase monthly base salaries by 1,500 yen in 2018 and 2019.

The Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) in the 2018 Report of the Committee on Management and Labor Policy boasted of the fourth straight year of pay hikes given. Keidanren, however, maintained a hostile tone toward a basic wage hike and reiterated that wage hikes should be carried out on an annual income basis through various means, including an increase in the amount of seasonal bonuses and a review of allowances. As a result, workers’ real wages fell by 150,000 yen in the past five years since the Abe administration was inaugurated.

Although Prime Minister Abe has argued that benefits of his economic policies favoring big businesses will trickle down to their employees, it is obvious PM Abe’s argument is out of touch with reality.

Past related articles:
> Unions declare start of 2018 Spring Struggle for 20,000-yen monthly wage hike [January 18 &19, 2018]
> Nearly 5-years and Abenomics far from effecting Japan's 'economic recovery' [December 18, 2017]
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