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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 March 13 - 19  > With no increase in the base wages, Japan won’t get out of deflation
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2013 March 13 - 19 TOP3 [LABOR]

With no increase in the base wages, Japan won’t get out of deflation

March 14 & 15, 2013
Major auto and electronics makers in this year’s spring labor offensive have offered an increase in annual income, as requested by corporate unions, but no increase in the base wage because these Rengo-affiliated unions shelved a request for an increase in the base wage for four consecutive years.

To their corporate unions, carmakers, including Toyota and Nissan, on March 13 answered that they will grant an increase in seasonal bonuses. Leading electronics manufactures also answered on the same day that they will increase bonuses, though less than the amount their corporate unions requested, and will maintain automatic pay increases.

The need to get out of the deflation is, however, to guarantee an increase in the base wage since it does not go up or down in tandem with corporate performance unlike seasonal bonuses.

It is also important to upgrade wages of non-regular workers such as part-timers and temps in order to boost the economy driven by domestic demand. Despite comprising more than 30% of Japan’s workforce, many of them receive neither bonuses nor periodic pay hikes.

Meanwhile, workers’ unions under the Zenroren banner simultaneously went on strike across the nation on March 14 calling for higher wages and job security, following the outcome of the day before.

More than 70 unions under the Japan Federation of Medical Workers’ Union (Iroren) went on strike, and more than 200 unions took actions demanding wage increases. So far, 19 unions have won an increase in the base wage.

Members of the Telecommunication Industry Workers’ Union (Tsushin-roso) walked off their jobs at 131 offices of the NTT Group throughout the country in protest against the group’s response totally ignoring the union’s demand. The union demanded an increase in the base wage and an increase in the hourly wages of non-regular workers who constitute 30% of the group’s employees.

The All Japan Construction, Transport and General Workers’ Union (Kenkoro) on strike demanded that JR East Group increase wages and secure the safety of transportation. The union criticized JR East for worsening the working conditions by terminating contracts with contingent workers after a period of years and rehiring them to the group’s subcontractors.
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