Automakers, electronics firms and other manufacturers responded Wednesday to wage-increase demands from their labor unions, with Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. fully meeting them.
Most electronics firms were not as generous as the automakers, although their earnings are recovering sharply.
They said that bonuses to be paid in the coming fiscal year, which begins April 1, will not reach the amounts demanded by their unions.
The unions that received management responses Wednesday belong to the Japan Council of Metalworkers’ Unions (IMF-JC). The amounts the metalworkers’ companies offer generally set the trend for wage negotiations in other industries, including electric power and telecommunications.
Nissan, which expects to report record-high profits in the current business year, told its union it will raise monthly salaries by 7,000 yen and pay annual bonuses worth six months’ salary, in keeping with the union’s request.
Of the 7,000 yen pay increase, 1,000 yen is a pay-scale hike applied unconditionally to all Nissan employees.
Pay-scale increases were virtually abolished at many electronics companies three years ago, when their labor unions decided not to ask for them due to the downturn in the companies’ earnings.
Nissan has decided to raise its pay scale for the fifth straight year, in an apparent effort to boost employee morale as the company is to complete its current midterm management plan in the business year beginning April 1.
Toyota granted the union’s request for a 6,500 yen monthly salary increase and an annual bonus payment combining five months’ salary with an extra 530,000 yen payment.
The two automakers have reported buoyant earnings on strong car sales, especially overseas. Among other carmakers, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the manufacturer of Subaru-brand vehicles, fully met the union’s demand concerning bonuses, five months’ salary plus 50,000 yen.
Honda Motor Co.’s response fell short of the union’s demand for bonus payments equal to 6.6 months’ salary. Still, the management offer of 6.55 months’ salary was its highest ever.
In the electronics industry, most unions did not seek a pay-scale hike, mirroring the two previous years, making bonuses the center of their negotiations with management.
Mitsubishi Electric Corp. offered a bonus worth 4.45 months’ salary, down from the union request for 5 months.
Most electronics firms did not even negotiate with the unions over bonus payments, as they have switched to a payment scheme linked to earnings. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and Sanyo Electric Co. are among these firms. In the shipbuilding industry, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co. offered lower bonus payments than last year.
Most steelmakers did not hold bonus negotiations as they have switched to an earnings-linked pay system.
Among a small number of steel firms that still negotiate with unions on bonuses, Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. raised its payment.