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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 August 1 - 21  > Zenroren unions press Labor Ministry to raise minimum wage to more than 1,000 yen
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2007 August 1 - 21 [LABOR]

Zenroren unions press Labor Ministry to raise minimum wage to more than 1,000 yen

August 1, 2007
The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)-affiliated union members on July 31 converged on the Labor Ministry in Tokyo, demanding that the ministry raise the minimum wage to more than 1,000 yen.

A representative of the All Japan Federation of Automobile Transport Workers’ Unions (Jiko-soren) pointed out that taxi drivers’ hourly average wage in Nagasaki Prefecture is 572 yen, lower than the minimum wage in the prefecture. He said, “Being unable to rent apartments due to the low wages, many taxi drivers sleep in their taxies,” adding that they are called “taxi refugees.”

“Dump truck drivers receive only 4,000 to 5,000 yen, less than 800 yen an hour, after fuel expenses for one transport,” an All Japan Construction, Transport and General Worker’s Union (Kenkoro) representative said. Pointing out that they are forced to transport material two or three times more than the legal limit, he warned that the low wage undermines safety of transportation.

The increase of non-regular municipal workers could undermine public services, according to a Japan Federation of Prefectural and Municipal Workers’ Unions (Jichiroren) representative. He stressed the necessity of improving their working conditions, including securing stable employment and raising the minimum wage.

Zenroren Secretary General Odagawa Yoshikazu said, “The House of Councilors election handed down the severe verdict of the public against the increase in social disparities and poverty that the ‘structural reform’ policies have brought about.” “It is unacceptable for the government to continue to turn its back on our demand of a minimum wage of 1,000 yen,” he said.

The Labor Ministry has proposed raising the wage by 13 to 34 yen, which will make the minimum wage only 707 yen at most.

Meanwhile, the Central Minimum Wage Council, an advisory panel to the Labor Minister, on August 1 decided to postpone the adoption of a new minimum wage due to the confrontation between management and labor.

In the recent House of Councilors election, the ruling block that opposed a large increase in the minimum wage suffered a devastating defeat, while the opposition that called for the minimum wage to be raised to more than 1,000 yen has become majority in the House.

In this situation, it has become impossible for the government and the panel to continue to neglect public opinion and movements demanding a drastic increase. - Akahata, August 1, 2007
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