Kepco may cut wages 5%, skip summer bonus

JIJI

Kansai Electric Power Co. is considering skipping next year’s summer bonus and cutting monthly salaries by about 5 percent from April in line with its planned electricity rate hikes, it was learned Thursday.

The utility has proposed the measures to its labor union, company officials said. It would be the first time for Kepco to forgo bonuses since its founding in 1951.

The utility, which serves the Kansai region, also plans to abolish five of its six sports grounds in or after April, the officials said. The remaining one, in Minoo, Osaka Prefecture, will be maintained for use as a base for the distribution of relief supplies in the event of a major disaster, they said.

Kansai Electric will also abolish a recreation facility for employees in the city of Osaka, the officials said.

The company earlier announced plans to cut annual salaries by about 16 percent on average for fiscal 2013-2015.

The average summer bonus for unionized employees stands at about ¥800,000 and their monthly salary at ¥400,000.

Kepco late last month filed for government approval for its plan to raise its households electricity rates by 11.88 percent on average. The firm is also set to increase its rates for corporate users by an average of 19.23 percent.

It aims to apply the new rates from April. The planned hikes are intended to cover massive costs for fuel at thermal power stations as most of the firm’s nuclear reactors are idled.