Unions to demand robust pay rises

Kyodo

Unions are adopting robust demands for this spring’s annual “shunto” wage talks, with those of Toyota Motor Corp. considering an average ¥2.3 million annual bonus and the electronics industry its first basic pay hike in five years.

For the talks, the 600,000-member Japanese Electrical, Electronic & Information Union, or Denki Rengo, said Tuesday it will demand a monthly pay-scale hike for the first time since 2009 of ¥4,000 or more for engineers.

The 63,000-member Toyota Motor Worker’s Union is expected to decide Feb. 6 on a bonus demand equivalent to 6.8 months of wages, up ¥300,000 from the previous year, along with an average ¥4,000 hike in the pay scale.

The electric industry union, comprising workers of mainly electric machinery makers, is a key member of the nation’s largest labor union federation, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo).

It has decided to demand a hike in the minimum monthly wage by ¥3,000 to ¥158,000 for an 18-year-old worker in the industry.

“A basic pay hike is necessary for these (spring) talks. Otherwise, it won’t contribute to a virtuous cycle in the Japanese economy,” said Shoji Arino, leader of the industry union.

Last year it demanded only the maintenance of the pay scale, under which individual workers get seniority-based raises without an increase in total labor costs for the industry.