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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 June 1 - 7  > Public workers to undergo 10% wage cuts
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2011 June 1 - 7 [LABOR]

Public workers to undergo 10% wage cuts

June 4, 2011
The Democratic Party of Japan-led government on June 3 decided to decrease the wages of rank-and-file government employees by 5% to 10% for three years.

Prime Minister Kan Naoto used the need to fund recovery from the March 11 disaster as an excuse to cut their wages, saying that the wage cuts are unavoidable in order to secure the financial resources needed for post-disaster reconstruction projects.

The Japan Federation of State Employees Unions (Kokko-roren) pointed out that a reduction in government workers’ wages will ripple through local governments and then through private firms, leading to a downturn in consumption which will lead to a negative impact on the economy as a whole.

Kokko-roren criticized the government’s decision as unreasonable when many public workers are working hard in disaster-hit regions at the front lines of reconstruction efforts. The union also stated that the need now is for the government to strengthen its administrative structure, including immediately increasing the number of staff, towards reconstruction based on disaster victims’ needs and demands.

The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) issued a statement urging the government to immediately reverse its decision.

In the statement, Zenroren criticized the wage cut decision as reckless on the grounds that the wage cuts “will put a chill on public workers who are sent to disaster-hit regions from across Japan and who are struggling to protect disaster victims’ lives and jobs.” It will also lower their living conditions and decrease their enthusiasm for their jobs, the statement said.

The statement also stated that government employees’ wage cuts will adversely affect wages for workers in local governments and the private sector, and therefore will accelerate the economic downturn and further decrease tax revenues for local governments.

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