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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 March 9 - 15  > Unions stage day of action for a substantial wage hike
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2022 March 9 - 15 TOP3 [LABOR]

Unions stage day of action for a substantial wage hike

March 11, 2022

Union activists throughout Japan took part in a day of action, with rallies and strikes, on March 10 to pressure employers into implementing wage increases.

This action was called for by the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) and the Joint Committee for the People’s Spring Struggle in reaction to employers’ negative responses they gave on the previous day to unions’ demands for a wage hike.

Activists of the Japan Federation of Medical Workers' Unions (Iroren) branch at a hospital in Tokyo’s Ota Ward went on strike in the early morning hours on the day.

At a rally during the walkout, Iroren branch head Sugiyama Kosuke pointed out that in a questionnaire survey conducted in the runup to this year’s spring wage talks, the largest number of respondents demanded a monthly wage hike of 40,000 yen. He said, “A huge wage hike is necessary to maintain quality medical services. Let us work hard to achieve this!”

Iroren President Sasaki Etsuko in her solidarity speech stressed that pushed by medical workers’ efforts, the government launched a program that helps increase wages of medical and care workers. Sasaki said that it is important for the union to press employers to utilize the program and offer higher wages to workers.

Calling for a substantial wage hike and additional staff, members of the National Union of Welfare and Childcare Workers (Fukushi-hoikuro) staged strikes, street campaigns, and other actions nationwide.

In Kyoto, Fukushi-hoikuro union members took to the streets near the Kyoto prefectural government office building to increase public support for their demands for better working conditions.

Using a microphone, Fukushi-hoikuro Kyoto local head Tsuchida Shoichi said that the COVID-19 pandemic again highlighted the importance of care workers’ role as essential workers. He went on to say that these workers are forced to work for low wages, and appealed for a substantial wage hike to create a work environment where care workers can work without financial anxieties.

Furthermore, Tsuchida pointed out that the reason why care workers have low wages is that in Japan, childcare and nursing-care have long been considered as part of housework done by women and thus the social importance of these jobs has not been recognized. He said that from the viewpoint of gender equality, the improvement of care workers’ wages and other working conditions is vital.

Union activists in turn made speeches.

One activist said, “Many nursing-care and childcare facilities are experiencing chronic labor shortages. During the pandemic, the situation became more serious.” The other activist said, “The government plans to introduce a measure to increase care workers’ monthly wages by 9,000 yen. However, a 9,000-yen pay hike is totally insufficient to increase our wage level to the same level as other industry workers.”

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