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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 January 12 - 18  > Labor unions declare the start of this year's 'shunto' wage-bargaining negotiations
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2022 January 12 - 18 TOP3 [LABOR]

Labor unions declare the start of this year's 'shunto' wage-bargaining negotiations

January 14, 2022

Union members of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) and the People's Spring Struggle Joint Committee on January 13 held a rally outside the Japan Business Federation (Keidairen) building in Tokyo to declare the start of this year's spring labor-management wage negotiations (shunto). Prior to the rally, they organized a similar rally in front of the Labor Ministry building and marched in demonstration through Tokyo's business district of Marunouchi.

They pointed out that large corporations have amassed 459 trillion yen in internal reserves as of the end of March 2021, and demanded that the business community return part of that money to workers with the implementation of a substantial increase in wages for all workers and an across-the-board minimum wage of 1,500 yen nationwide.

Zenroren President Obata Masako said, "Japan is the only advanced capitalist country where workers' wages continue to decline in contrast to ever-increasing internal reserves hoarded by large corporations." Regarding consultations on day-to-day living and labor issues, Obata reported, "As the ongoing pandemic is dealing a serious blow to many contingent workers, more people than in the previous year come for advice."

She said that Zenroren in this year's shunto will demand improvements in medical and public health programs in addition to wage hikes and decent work rules.

Suzuki Toru, vice chair of the Japan Metal, Manufacturing, Information and Telecommunication Workers' Union (JMITU) said, "Corporate performance has recovered but workers' wages remain sluggish," adding that JMITU in the coming shunto will demand a large increase in wages and a reduction in working hours. Ryumae Fusashi, vice chair of the Zenroren-affiliated National Union of General Workers (Zenkoku-Ippan), said, "Due to pressures from parent companies or from companies that give contracts to subcontractors, dismissals and refusals to hold collective bargaining take place often, which causes hardships on many workers." Asano Ryuichi, secretary-general of the Japan Federation of National Public Service Employees' Unions (Kokko-roren), said, "Government workers have been working very hard to deal with COVID-19, but the starting salary for high school graduates in the public sector does not reach even the national average of minimum wages."

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