Company employees have won a pay increase of 1.69 percent on a weighted average in this year’s spring wage negotiations, slightly less than the previous year, the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) said in an interim report Wednesday.

The wage hike offered by 74 companies in 12 major industrial sectors, including regular pay scale-based raises, represents a slight fall from the previous year’s 1.7 percent increase, the influential business lobby said.

A focal point in this spring’s wage negotiations was whether companies would reject annual seniority-based pay hikes. As many firms agreed to continue the practice, the level of pay increases stayed nearly unchanged from the previous year.

By late May, Nippon Keidanren will compile a final report on the results of wage negotiations at 292 companies in 23 major industrial sectors.

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