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Unions demand wage hikes but strikes unlikely

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Taking industrial action off the table severely limits your bargaining power.Prices going up left,right and centre,but if you are unwilling to get people's pay up,then what use as a union are you?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Here in Japan everybody is middle class

This is basically true, as a generalization.

the poverty rate hovers around 16 percent, despite Japan’s rich-nation image

How is this "poverty rate" defined? I'd hazard a guess that Japan's poverty level is somewhere around the "fat cat" level of a lot of places around the world.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"That rings true with Anan, a 21-year-old university student who can’t fathom the idea of a strike.

“Here in Japan everybody is middle class, everybody can find a job…and not everybody is obsessed with moving up the social ladder—so there’s no reason to be upset,” she told AFP."

Typicall arrogance!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If unions never plan to strike under increasingly stressful conditions for the workers, then management will never have the fear which is sometimes necessary to persuade them to treat the workers more respectfully and fairly.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan has the lowest workers wages among all OECD nations.

http://twitter.com/ohnojunichi/status/429640890848522240/photo/1

In the graph, Red is obviously Japan. All wages are going up in all countries, except for Japan.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

'Japan’s annual labor talks are known as “shunto,” or the “spring offensive”, but usually low-key, closed-door negotiations could easily end with few firms heeding Abe’s pay rise call, perhaps counting on workers’ reluctance to strike.' Spring offensive! I attend union meetings regularly. Our workers remind me of ribboned toy poodles hoping for a choccy drop.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

From my experience with labor unions in japan they operate totally opposite to western countries. They are not there to settle disputes between workers and employees. They are there to tell workers what the employer says.

It's worth noting that the Abenomics 'third arrow' strategy included salary increases for all workers, but the corporations have refused to pass it on. Do we see the government taking any action to ensure the corporations increase salaries? No, of course not! The corporations that are refusing to pass on their tax cuts as salary increases should have their tax reductions revoked!

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Eiji TakanoFeb. 17, 2014 - 10:24AM JST Japan has the lowest workers wages among all OECD nations.

And some of the highest prices for food, rent and goods. Ever wonder why so many middle aged kids live at home. Because on such low wages they can not afford to rent a reasonable apartment and pay for everything else and pay into an archaic pension collection system. Never mind, the powers to be, expect mum and dad to pay out of their pensions.

Number one highest minimum hourly rate is Turkey, 2nd is France, 3rd is New Zealand, 4th is Australia. Japan is number 21out of 22 countries. Report OECD 2011.

Take New Zealand as an example. Pension system is collected through tax. Public hospitals free, accident compensation for everyone funded by company employers, Good welfare for people in need. Although GST (consumption tax) is around 20 percent people benefit by not being robbed through other taxes. No death taxes or sales taxes additional to a consumption tax. Food is half the price or better than in Japan and coupled with a good minimum wage, people can live without hardship.

There are many skilled ex workers out of their jobs and now workiing at part time jobs at the miserable hourly rate of 900 or so Yen per hour. I believe that out in the country parts of Japan, minimum wage is under 700 Yen per hour. Why should a minim wage differ in different parts of the country ?

Did someone say " generous welfare"-- what a joke. Go live under a bridge or in a cardboard box.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

VicMOsaka

And some of the highest prices for food, rent and goods.

Exactly, and the reason is because of the "indirect" taxes that they have to pay. If you count the "indirect" taxes, then Japan must be one of the highest taxed countries in the world. And they're raising the tax even further, while lowering the taxes for the corporations! And all those money will go to the pockets of amakudari and other meaningless projects.

This is insanity, and it's all because there's no party that represents the middle class. Then they're saying that their focus should be: "Korea, China, Senkaku, Takeshima and the Olympics"... Unbelievable.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Disillusioned. I completely agree with revoking tax reductions for companies who will not play ball.

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Eiji TakanoFeb. 17, 2014 - 10:24AM JST

Japan has the lowest workers wages among all OECD nations.

http://twitter.com/ohnojunichi/status/429640890848522240/photo/1

In the graph, Red is obviously Japan. All wages are going up in all countries, except for Japan.

i guess if you want to cherry pick your info that would be good. but looking at it realistically, the average wage in japan ranks about 14 out of 27 countries: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_average_wage

1 ( +2 / -1 )

the average wage in japan ranks about 14 out of 27 countries

Still crap compared to the cost of living here.

“Here in Japan everybody is middle class, everybody can find a job…and not everybody is obsessed with moving up the social ladder—so there’s no reason to be upset,”

I expect this is going to be changing real soon...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Lol, why are you defending the fact that Japan is the only country in OECD to have falling average wages?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

roflmao, why are you cherry picking data (from twitter of all places) to support your bias against japan? as long as delflation occurs, then the purchasing power is the same, so it's irrevelant that japanese wages are stagnant currently.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Yeah, except that the economy has inflated, and wages aren't increasing to reflect the inflation.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The theory seems to be give companies a tax break and it will flow down? Has never happened never will, never has. In what country has this worked...it's a theory that has failed in every country it's been touted as an answer. But alas it's a pathetic conservitave excuse for money grabbing.now 20 years too late Japan tries it... The failure is going to cause huge social disruption, pain for families...but the rich will get richer.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Actually, I've seen comparisons that show that Japanese housing is now one of the most affordable in the developed world. Houses are smaller but are still affordable, as are apartments.

What helps a lot with the Japanese is that transport is much cheaper. Since Japanese cities are much denser and rapid transit networks are well-developed, cars are mainly optional. So even if gas is more expensive, highways have tolls and transit companies are mostly profitable (higher fares), the typical Japanese household spends about 9-10% of its income on transport, versus 18-20% in North America, where in many cities, households NEED one car per adult just to function (call it the "sprawl tax"). That is quite a massive chunk in the cost of living that Japanese cities and transport system reduce.

About unions and striking, I think that what helps avoid them nowadays is the Japanese communitarian spirit. The employees are loyal to the company and the company is loyal to its employees in a way it isn't in much of the developed world. This exchange of loyalty helps keep the peace.

Just look at this telling quote: "Employees need a safety net to make sure that they’re not left out in the street, because they’ve made commitments to the companies and certainly deserve to be part of that safety net.”

In much of the rest of the world, that quote would be normal coming from a left-wing politician or an union boss... but it came from SONY's boss! I don't remember any European or North American boss saying something close to that in recent years! All North American CEOs care about are the stockholders (who are mainly other CEOs). The idea of a CEO actually saying that employees who have loyally served a company deserve a safety net so they're not left out of the cold would truly be shocking today in the North American corporate world. It would go against the dominant idea that the only responsibility a company has is to its shareholders.

But this relationship of mutual loyalty and respect may come crashing down if companies start doing better and do not cut a piece of the pie for their employees.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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