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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 January 6 - 12  > Zenroren local union in Shizuoka is fighting for minimum wage hike
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2016 January 6 - 12 [LABOR]

Zenroren local union in Shizuoka is fighting for minimum wage hike

January 6, 2016
In Shizuoka Prefecture, which is less than two hours away from Tokyo by Shinkansen bullet train and famous for Mt. Fuji, a local member union of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) is fighting for a substantial increase in the regional minimum wage and for the introduction of a nationwide, across-the-board minimum wage system.

In Japan, the minimum wage is set separately in each prefecture by the Regional Council on Minimum Wage based on the Central Council’s recommendation on regional minimum wages. At present, the national average minimum wage is 798 yen per hour. Shizuoka’s regional minimum hourly wage is 783 yen, 122 yen lower than that of Kanagawa Prefecture and 37 yen lower than Aichi’s, both prefectures bordering Shizuoka.

The Zenroren local union member, the Council of Trade Unions of Shizuokaken (Shizuoka-kenpyo), has carried out various actions, including a prefecture-wide “caravan” campaign, with the aim of achieving a meaningful minimum wage hike.

In the prefecture-wide campaign which is conducted three times a year, Shizuoka-kenpyo held talks with some municipal leaders. In the talks, the union took up issues the prefecture is facing in relation to population decline, and claimed that people are moving to neighboring prefectures because minimum wages there are higher than in Shizuoka.

Shizuoka-kenpyo President Hayashi Katsushi said, “When I explained that the minimum wage gap between Shizuoka and Kanagawa has reached 120 yen, many municipal heads agreed on the need for a drastic hike.”

Kosai City Mayor Mikami Hajime is one of those local government leaders. Mikami said, “For those who want to work as part-timers, it is important to have their workplaces near their houses. So, they are moving to Aichi where they can earn higher hourly wages than in Shizuoka. The need now is to eliminate the differences in the regional minimum wages and increase the minimum wage to at least 1,000 yen.”

In addition to the “caravan” campaign, Shizuoka-kenpyo ten years ago began another campaign in which the union visits all municipal assemblies to hold talks after sending a petition calling on them to adopt a statement requesting the central government to raise regional minimum wages.

So far, ten municipal assemblies have adopted the statement demanding the state to implement higher minimum wages. Among the ten assemblies, assemblies in Higashiizu, Kawazu, and Nishiizu towns in their statements demanded the introduction of a nationwide, across-the-board minimum wage system.

Hayashi said, “In order to win a meaningful minimum wage hike, we need to further push the prefectural and local governments to take action and take our protest to the streets more frequently to increase people’s awareness of the current inadequate minimum wage level.”

Past related article:
> 18-yen increase in minimum wages will not narrow regional wage gaps [July 30, 2015]
> JCP Daimon calls for minimum wage reforms to narrow regional income gaps [June 12, 2015]
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