• Kyodo

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Panasonic Corp. is planning to raise the pay scale for its employees at this spring’s labor-management wage talks for the first time since 2008, sources said Tuesday.

The electronics-maker took into consideration commodity price rises and the imminent sales tax hike, which will likely put a greater burden on households, they said.

The labor union is seeking a monthly wage-scale rise of more than ¥4,000, but management remains reluctant to accede to the request in full.

Management at first balked altogether at a wage hike, citing poor business conditions that have forced the company to carry out structural reforms in sectors including its flagging television business.

But Panasonic is now expected to post a group net profit for the current business year through March, returning to the black for the first time in three years. As a result, management took into account the union’s claim that spurring consumer spending through a basic wage increase would help end the nation’s deflation, the sources said.

Panasonic will provide a lump-sum payment, or bonus, in accordance with the company’s business performance — an amount likely to exceed last year’s.

After incurring a massive group net loss for the second straight year in fiscal 2012, which ended in March 2013, Panasonic restructured its mainstay businesses, including its television and semiconductor operations, in fiscal 2013.

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