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2014 May 14 - 20 TOP3 [LABOR]

Japan’s workers join international action seeking higher minimum wages

May 16, 2014
Japan’s labor unions took to the streets on May 15 in response to a call for simultaneously taking action across the world to demand an increase in minimum wages.

This call was issued by American trade unions which are struggling to increase the amount of hourly minimum wages to at least 15 dollars (about 1,500 yen) throughout their country.

Responding to the appeal, members of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) and independent unions rose up in 22 prefectures, seeking to raise the legal hourly minimum pay to more than 1,000 yen in every prefecture.

In a street drive held in front of Tokyo’s Shibuya Station, Tokyo Regional Council of Trade Unions Chair Ito Jun’ichi said, “To get Japan’s economy on a recovery track, it’s vital to increase the wages of all workers throughout the nation.”

Kikuchi Kazuhiko, deputy secretary-general of the All-Japan Federation of Automobile Transport Workers’ Unions, pointed to the fact that many taxi drivers earn less than the minimum wage.

Sawamura Tadashi, secretary-general of the National Union of Welfare and Childcare Workers, stressed, “Both an increase in floor wages and improvement of working conditions are needed in order to provide facility users with better services.”

A 20-year-old student at a vocational school, who received a flyer, had worked at a fast-food restaurant as a part-timer when he was a high school student. “I had to work every day to pay my school expenses. The hourly wage for fast-food workers is too low. I want authorities to take steps to have it raised,” he said.

Past related articles:
> Japan’s minimum wage lowest among G7 countries [April 3, 2014]
> Japan’s dockworkers win minimum wage increase after engaging in strikes [April 11, 2014]
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