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Japanese metalworkers secure major wage increase

26 March, 2015IndustriALL Global Union affiliated Japanese metalworkers’ unions achieved the largest annual wage increase in 16 years in their 2015 Spring Offensive. The Japanese metalworkers submit demands on wages and working conditions every February, and engage in collective bargaining.

The Japanese economy has been suffering from deflation and is in a period of uncertainty. The unions believe that increased salaries will contribute to revitalizing the economy. The Japan Council of Metalworkers’ Unions (JCM) represents members of 50 unions at major companies in the automotive, ICT electrical and electronics, machinery, iron and steel, and shipbuilding industries.

In particular, JCM is emphasizing the following achievements.  

  • All trade unions managed to secure the regular pay raise portion. This is a substantive monthly raise amounting to about 2 per cent (roughly 6,000 yen, or US$50).
  • In addition to the regular pay raise, 97 percent of the unions demanding wage increases were successful in reaching agreements on an additional amount of 2,801 yen. Along with the increase in base salary, this amounts to a total monthly increase of approximately 8,801 yen.
  • Agreements securing average annual bonus payments equivalent to 5.26 months’ pay (a year-on-year increase of 0.1 months) were reached by 33 unions.
  • Agreements securing a 2,004 yen monthly increase to intra-company minimum wages were reached by 24 unions. This also contributes to raising wages for unorganized workers and non-regular workers as well.
  • Regarding the improvement of working conditions for non-regular workers, some unions were also able to draw out positive, concrete answers and cooperative, favorable commitments from management.

In a statement about the results achieved in the 2015 Spring Offensive, JCM declared, “For unions that will elicit replies hereafter as well, we will continue to advance support so that they can soundly win wage increases above the amount secured last year, as has been the case with the responses received thus far.”