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Japanese metalworkers celebrate wage increase


Based on the financial results of 2017 and following a series of negotiations between unions and management of major Japanese metalworking companies, workers will receive a substantial wage increase this year. Smaller and medium size companies often suppliers to the big corporations of the sector will follow.

After the traditional spring wage negotiations known in Japan as Shunto, ‘Spring Labor Offensive’, major member unions of the Japan Council of Metalworkers’ Unions (JCM), an affiliate of IndustriALL Global Union, received responses to their wage increase demands by 14 March. Most unions are already in the process of concluding new collective agreements.

This year, 52 JCM member unions got a higher wage increase than last year. As of 19 March, workers will enjoy a wage increase 1,541 yen on average on top of the regular pay raise portion. This year hike is about 500 yen higher than that of last year.

A broader debate over industrial and corporate survival to deal with industrial structure change took place through labour-management negotiations in each company. Due to this, negotiations on wage increase were tightened up in their final phase. Having agreed on the hike this year, the automotive companies expressed some concerns about the future possible increases because of the growing competition over development of self-driving and electric vehicles.

In the electronics industry unions obtained good results with 13 major companies including Panasonic and Hitachi; electronics workers will enjoy a base pay rise of 1,500 yen, which is 500 yen higher than last year.

Commenting on the results achieved on 2017 Spring Labor Offensive, JCM President, Akira Takakura said,

“We believe this result will contribute to strengthening industrial base as well as motivation and vitality of union members in line with our demand of “investing in people”. We hope the result will also lead up-coming negotiations at small-medium size companies and give positive effect to improve working conditions of non-regular workers.”


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