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Japan's largest labor union to demand 4% pay hike in wage talks

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Rengo decided at its Central Committee meeting to pursue a pay hike totaling 4% -- with an increase in workers' basic pay of 2%, in addition to a regular wage rise based on a worker's age or length of employment.

Which they won't get, but even if they do get the 2% increase, it's going to be lost in the consumption tax hike.

It's not even going to be plus-minus=zero, it will end up as plus-minus=minus, as increases in costs will wipe out any gains!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ask for better benefits, pensions, overtime when you actually get paid double time for working overtime!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The Abe administration has requested pay increases for the fifth straight year in a bid to spur consumption, a key driver of the Japanese economy.

Seriously, exactly what has the Abe government achieved for the people? I'm honestly stumped when I try to think how our lives have improved under this administration. There has been a lot of talk with nothing to show.

Ask for better benefits, pensions, overtime when you actually get paid double time for working overtime!

Penalty rates would be a huge step to curbing karoshi. But if it's not obvious to the populace by now, the government has no confronting this issue.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Seriously, exactly what has the Abe government achieved for the people? I'm honestly stumped when I try to think how our lives have improved under this administration. There has been a lot of talk with nothing to show.

Exactly. If anything, our lives have gotten worse. our pay has not increased but prices AND taxes have.

Penalty rates would be a huge step to curbing karoshi. But if it's not obvious to the populace by now, the government has no confronting this issue.

The Abe regime looks at the people of this country as if they were peasants. The arrogance with which they've dealt with the Abe scandals should be proof enough. And why not treat the public like the fools they are?  After all, they voted the man back into power.

You reap what you sow

5 ( +5 / -0 )

1) The government should demand that all companies pay their corporate tax dues in full.

2) The government should offer tax incentives to companies for converting contract employees to full-time employees and for increasing salaries.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And if they get the full 4% it will be very good for the Japanese economy long term.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ask for better benefits, pensions, overtime when you actually get paid double time for working overtime!

You have no idea the system here if you think that the unions could actually negotiate these issues.

Here is an idea of how the "negotiations" will go..

Union; Good Morning Sir, we are asking for a 4% increase in wages, including an actual 2% raise in the basic monthly income!

Company President; So you ask, but we can only "afford" 1.5%, maybe 2%, to keep that guy Abe happy and give him something to point to as being successful. Tell you what, we'll raise bonuses only, at 2% and the monthly rate stays put!

Union; Ok sir, but just to show no hard feelings we will agree to your kind proposal, but our members are not going to be happy. We may need to strike to show solidarity.

Company President; Strike? Well, everyone needs to save face, let's talk about when!

Union; we sir, how does next week Monday sound?

Company president; Next Monday? No good, I have golf that day! Make it Tuesday!

Union: (bowing profusely) Ok sir, next Tuesday, and we apologize for the inconvenience to everyone. Strike next Tuesday, from 8AM to 5PM.

Company President; Ok agreed, but you all better make up the lost time during the course of next week!

Union; Of course! We'll work 20 hour days for a month to cover it!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

how about if companies just paid their employees for any overtime worked? that would surely be worth more than a 4% raise, which btw will never happen because japanese unions are spineless. strike? that would inconvenience too many people. well that's the whole point!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I just calculated, with a 4% increase, I would get 96,000 yen a year. Or 8,000 a month. Best case scenario.

As said by someone above, that's without counting the future tax hike. I'm single and child-free, so it's cool. But for people with children or taking care of a parent, meh...

And this will be negotiated, so it will certainly not be 4%.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A 0.4% rise is more likely, and that will be more than lost when they change the income tax bands and add the "forestry maintenance / retired bureaucrat employment fee" to the local tax.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bleak outlook for workers, their head negotiator is a proud member of Nippon Kaigie, so expect no help there. Food prices are rising faster than their wages, taxes rising faster then wages. Companies are scrapping by with (aside from the big ones who don't pay tax anyway) a shrinking customer base that has less money to spend. A declining birth rate. Bleak might not be an adequate word.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

theyll be lucky if they can get even 2% wage increases.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Rengo decided ... to pursue a pay hike totaling 4% -- with an increase in workers' basic pay of 2%, in addition to a regular wage rise based on a worker's age or length of employment.

But not their job/work performance. 

Noted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

YubaruToday 09:59 am JST

You have no idea the system here if you think that the unions could actually negotiate these issues.

Here is an idea of how the "negotiations" will go..

Haha! Yubaru summed up so much, so perfectly in one post! But yeah, sadly that's pretty much how it would go.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The government should demand that all companies pay their corporate tax dues in full.

I do believe the tax agency will prosecute any tax evasion that is uncovers.

The government should offer tax incentives to companies for converting contract employees to full-time employees and for increasing salaries

Rather, the government should with priority abolish the laws and practices that enforce the reality of "full-time" employees being first class, and the rest being second class. There should be a level playing field for all workers. This would require a sweeping reform however, and therefore will not happen until Japan is struck down by crisis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Penalty rates would be a huge step to curbing karoshi. But if it's not obvious to the populace by now, the government has no confronting this issue.

Japan would go broke if they had to pay penalty rates for all these salary-sucking parasites. The majority of full time workers in Japan do not work hard. They work long, but not hard. The majority of the productivity is taken up by the 60% of workers on short-term cut-throat contracts and if they don't complete the work of four other full-time workers they will be fired on the spot. When Koizumi set up these short-term contracts there was some security in them with a three year limitation and the staff would go full time. However, successive governments have turned them into a virtual slavery contract with no security what-so-ever because the companies use this as an excuse to hire semi-full time labor and fire them to be replaced with more creating a revolving door of semi-permanent employees while the permanent employees just sit around drinking coffee and watch the door spin. I'd be very interested to know what percentage of these 'karoshi' deaths are people on these year-in year-out short term contracts. The pressure and stress of facing yearly evaluations every December and worrying if you'll have a job come the following April is immense and must lead many people to depression and suicide. As an English teacher in Japan I've been on this 'chocolate wheel' for over a decade and have accepted it, but I'll never get used to it. It actually cost me my marriage because she (Japanese) couldn't deal with the uncertainty. This wage increase they are campaigning to get will not be an across-the-board increase. It will be limited to full time workers and those on short term contracts will be forced to take up the slack, putting even more pressure on them. Japan has a long cultural history of an 'us and them' society, which is still extremely prevalent in the business sector.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

... and therefore will not happen until Japan is struck down by crisis.

Sorry to be the cynic here but, if history is anything to go by, not even a crisis could get Japan to change for the better.

Many smart Japanese citizens have long since left for greener pastures and enjoy healthy working lives overseas in places where penalty rates, payrises, guiltfree holidays for a month in each year etc etc etc. Such things are normal.

I go so far as to call Japan's workplace practices for what they are - violations of basic human rights. And I would like to know where the UN is in regards to this, and why it is have never become a priority for them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I just calculated, with a 4% increase, I would get 96,000 yen a year. Or 8,000 a month. Best case scenario.

If you think you are getting an across the board 4% increase you are going to be disappointed when you dont see the increase in your paycheck.

o pursue a pay hike totaling 4% -- with an increase in workers' basic pay of 2%, in addition to a regular wage rise based on a worker's age or length of employment.

2% monthly, and that means the other 2% increase would come at bonus time, but not everyone receives a bonus so it's meaningless. And the part after "In addition...is ambiguous at best, and leaves too much to the imagination, and an easy out when the "raises" don't happen.

Don't forget that Unions only negotiate for it's members, and there are less and less of them every year as few companies are hiring full time employees.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You do not need salary increase. Just have this silly government to understand that income tax is the biggest hurdle to the economy where 40-50% of all the money taken from tax payers get wasted for useless projects. So abolish the income tax.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They should have aimed for 10% to get 5. With the 4% they’ll end up with minus. This Union is theatrical and absurd.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is it just me that finds it strange that the talks hasnt even started yet and one side has released what they are aiming for? That's part of the negotiation process / strategy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

True ushosh, but one wonders if the result hasn’t not already been determined behind closed doors too. Like how politicians ask each other questions where all parties know the script in advance to avoid anyone getting embarrassed by being put on the spot for what they are formally supposed to be responsible for.

Agentx, by crisis I mean something extremely historic and serious. Not your garden variety annual scandals.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You do not need salary increase. 

Right...real wages have been stagnant for nearly 20 years, there have been numerous increases in taxes, et c etc etc, and companies are making record profits and keeping that money locked up overseas, and nothing getting passed on to the employees.

Besa me culo! I have been working for basically the same wages for nearly 15 years with minor increases but the company is making money hand and foot!

People need a salary increase! Of THAT there should be NO argument!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 the permanent employees just sit around drinking coffee and watch the door spin. ... The pressure and stress of facing yearly evaluations every December 

@Disillusioned, you'll be unsurprised to discover that these days companies are making permanent employees face these evaluations too, sometimes twice a year or even quarterly, and setting unattainable (or too-vague) targets for skill growth every half year so that employees can never feel justified in demanding a raise.

Abe's Japan, folks. Inflation and higher taxes taking away our quality of life; corporations raking in all the money; more overwork (100 hours a month, no problem!) and suicide. I'm sure there will be another sumo or entertainment scandal, or perhaps some saber-rattling with North Korea, to take media attention away when these labor negotiations inevitable end in near-total victory for the corporations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese workers are most deserving workers to get a pay increase in the world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, the UK is trying to mimic Japan, Low Wages, weak FX, rubbish Pension...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is it just me that finds it strange that the talks hasnt even started yet and one side has released what they are aiming for? That's part of the negotiation process / strategy.

It's common place here, these are trial balloons sent up to judge response and then they go from there!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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