Toyota union may forgo wage hike

Kyodo

Toyota Motor Corp. workers are likely to forgo demands for a basic wage hike next spring in a move that represents a major policy shift for a large union and is likely to ripple out to other firms.

The decision was approved at a recent regular meeting of the Toyota Motor Workers’ Union, representing 62,000 workers at the nation’s largest automaker, a union official said Sunday.

“We have just shifted our focus in thinking, and whether or not we actually request (a hike) depends on our discussions in the months to come,” the official said.

The union agreed in the spring to no pay-scale hikes, aside from seniority-based increments.

Under its new policy, the union “attempts to shift from its policy of mandating an increment request every year” by chiefly taking into account efforts at improving productivity of union members and earnings, according to the official.

The union will now consider external economic factors, such as the threat of deflation now hitting the nation and business trends at other major companies

The union had demanded a monthly pay hike of 1,000 yen on top of the regularly scheduled, seniority-based increase of 6,500 yen in the spring’s wage negotiations. But it faced tough opposition from management, which is concerned about losing its competitive edge to Chinese and South Korean firms.