Rengo to pursue 1% wage hike but management not expected to yield


The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) plans to request a hike of 1 percent in workers’ total wages, including bonuses, during next spring’s “shunto” wage negotiations, according to sources.

The trade union umbrella group is aiming to increase the salaries of all workers, including part-time and nonregular employees, sources said Tuesday.

Management, however, is expected to strongly oppose the wage hike request at a time when the business environment is worsening amid Europe’s prolonged debt crisis and heightened tensions between Japan and China over the disputed Senkaku islands, the sources said.

Rengo will decide on its basic negotiation stance at a central executive committee meeting Thursday, and adopt an official shunto policy at a plenary meeting of its central committee in December, the sources said.

The group will request the 1 percent gross wage hike for the third consecutive year, in line with its goal of recovering workers’ wages to the peak levels seen in 1997 — after which salaries steadily declined — within around five years.

Unpaid overtime up 18%

Overtime wages paid to employees by companies only after being ordered to by labor standards supervision offices in fiscal 2011 totaled ¥14.6 billion, up 18 percent from the previous year and rising for the second straight year, the labor ministry has announced.