Keidanren to urge members to hike wages, Yonekura says

Kyodo

The head of Japan’s most influential business lobby said Monday that he will urge member companies who are expecting business to improve to raise wages.

Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Keidanren, also known as the Japan Business Federation, told a press conference that wage hikes could expand consumption and put the economy into a positive growth cycle. Keidanren has 1,300 member companies.

On increasing pay scales, however, Yonekura said that would depend on labor union negotiations at each company because “workers would also have bonuses and regular pay hikes.”

Following the government’s decision Friday not to approve a plan to relax the rules for dismissing workers in the “strategic special zones” proposed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Keidanren chief said the plan, which was pushed by business organizations, “may have been unfit” for the zones.

Yonekura said the business lobby will continue to press the government to consider introducing a so-called white-collar exemption system, which would exempt white-collar workers in certain positions from adhering to regulations on working hours and overtime pay.