Business

Toyota union to demand over ¥3,000 pay hike

Kyodo

The federation of labor unions at the Toyota Motor Corp. group said Friday it plans to demand a monthly base wage increase of ¥3,000 or more at this year’s spring wage talks.

It will be the fifth straight year for the Federation of All Toyota Workers’ Unions to seek a hike in workers’ pay scales across the board. The union, which will formally adopt the plan on Saturday, had also sought an increase of ¥3,000 in the past two years.

“Toyota’s performance itself has improved due to the weak yen but as a group, profits are uneven,” federation head Mitsuyuki Tsuruoka said at a press conference in Hyogo Prefecture.

Tsuruoka said the ¥3,000 wage increase will help improve the current situation. “I hope the pay-scale raise will lead to the sustained growth of the Japanese economy,” he said.

Last year, Toyota fully accepted the union’s bonus request but offered a pay-scale raise of ¥1,300 a month, down from the previous year’s ¥1,500.

In November, Toyota raised its group earnings forecast for the current business year through March on the yen’s fall and cost-cutting efforts.

Pay talks at the Japanese auto giant are viewed as setting the trend for other companies. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has urged business leaders to raise wages by 3 percent in fiscal 2018, calling for an increase for the fifth straight year.

The government is aiming to spur consumption and inject momentum into the country’s economy as Japan has yet to escape deflation despite the prime minister’s “Abenomics” economic policy mix introduced in 2012.

Companies are being asked to use more of their growing cash holdings to raise wages, though cash-rich major firms remain cautious about reducing savings.