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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 January 18 - 24  > Zenroren: Keidanren should fulfill its social responsibility by offering pay hikes to counter rise in inflation
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2023 January 18 - 24 [LABOR]

Zenroren: Keidanren should fulfill its social responsibility by offering pay hikes to counter rise in inflation

January 18 & 19, 2023

The Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) on January 17 issued its guidelines, the Report of the Special Committee on Management and Labor Policy 2023, for employers in the run up to this year’s spring wage talks (“shunto”). In the report, Keidanren admitted to the need for pay hikes amid the ongoing price surge. However, it still expressed reluctance to offer above-inflation pay raises that actualize real wage growth.

The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) on the same day released a statement under the name of Zenroren Secretary General Kurosawa Koichi.

Kurosawa in his statement noted that the Keidanren report stated that under the current rising price trends, positive responses in this year’s “shunto” wage talks are necessary to maintain and boost the momentum of wage increases as part of corporate social responsibilities. Kurosawa pointed out that amid the skyrocketing prices, Keidanren overturned its wage restraint policy and called on member corporations to accept workers’ demand for higher wages. He stated that if Keidanren really recognizes the need to raise pay scales, it should decide to provide a drastic increase in basic pay exceeding the rate of inflation in order to contribute to growth in real earnings.

Pointing out that Keidanren in its report mentioned the need for structural pay increases and the need to form a strong middle class, the Zenroren secretary general stated that if Keidanren seeks to achieve this, it should work to narrow the existing gaps and promote gender equality and realize pay raises that will protect the basic human rights of non-regular workers and female workers.

The Zenroren statement criticized the Keidanren report for sticking to its stance to give importance to corporations’ paying capacity in regard to an increase in minimum hourly wages. The statement demanded the realization of a nationwide uniform minimum wage hike to 1,500 yen an hour, an increase in unit prices for subcontractors, and the establishment of fair-trade rules.

In addition, the statement called on large corporations to use a portion of their huge internal reserves to fulfill their social responsibilities which include offering pay hikes.

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