Major labor unions in the steel and shipbuilding industries submitted their wage and benefit demands to management Friday, kicking off a month of “shunto” annual labor talks.
Unions at major automakers are expected to submit their demands next Wednesday, while those at electronics makers are scheduled for Thursday.
The talks expected to culminate March 14, when management at major firms will give their responses.
The negotiations, which focus on annual raises and bonuses, are likely to prove tough for the unions, given the uphill battle facing export-oriented companies due to the strong yen and stiff competition from rivals overseas, as shown in recent dismal earnings results for the electronics industry.
The unions in the steel and shipbuilding industries, which belong to the Japan Federation of Basic Industry Workers’ Unions under the umbrella of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), engage in the spring negotiations with management every two years.
The union at Nippon Steel Corp. is demanding greater benefits for members raising children, while those in the shipbuilding sector are demanding a ¥3,000 raise in monthly wages.
The Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers’ Unions will call for a seniority-based regular pay raise, rather than an across-the-board higher floor in pay scales, given the tough economic realities facing the industry.
Union workers at Toyota Motor Corp. will call for a regular pay raise and an annual bonus of ¥1.78 million on average, which translates into five months of pay plus ¥30,000.
The powerful Keidanren business association strongly opposes raising the floor in pay scales, even indicating the possibility of freezing or postponing seniority-based regular pay raises.
Rengo is calling for a wage increase equivalent to 1 percent of the sum of all pay.