Pay hikes to average 2.1% at big firms: poll

JIJI

Wage hikes resulting from this year’s “shunto” labor-management wage negotiations are expected to average ¥6,413, or 2.1 percent, up from 1.8 percent last year, according to a think tank.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is urging businesses to hike wages and has persuaded the influential Keidanren business lobby to pressure its member companies to do the same.

Wage hikes have stayed under 2 percent on average since hitting 2.01 percent in 2001, according to the labor ministry. If they exceed 2 percent it will be the first time in 13 years.

A survey released Thursday by the private Institute of Labor Administration, however, said that only 16.1 percent of the nation’s companies plan to raise wages, up sharply from 6.3 percent last year.

In addition, 53.4 percent said they do not intend to raise pay scales at all, the survey said.

According to the survey, employees are expecting wage hikes of 2.15 percent on average, compared with an average of 1.96 percent projected by companies and 2.08 percent by analysts.

The survey, conducted from Dec. 9 to Jan. 15, covered 5,679 people and drew valid responses from 540, including consultants, university professors, the heads of corporate human resources departments, and labor union leaders at companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

MMC unions seek hikes

Mitsubishi Motor Corp.’s labor union will demand a wage hike of ¥3,500 per month in the annual “shunto” spring wage talks, its first request for a pay scale increase in 12 years, officials said.

The union will also demand annual bonuses worth five months’ salary, up from 4.3 months the previous year, the sources said Thursday. It is set to finalize the requests on Feb. 10.

The union has refrained from demanding pay hikes for years in light of the decline in earnings caused chiefly by the automaker’s vast coverup of decades of vehicle recalls and defects.

But MMC is expected to log a record group operating profit of ¥120 billion for the year ending in March, thanks in part to the weakened yen.

The union intends to demand a 1 percent hike in monthly wages, or ¥3,000, and an additional increase of ¥500 to fill the gap with rival automakers.