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Japan unions demand average 4.5% pay rise, highest since 1990s

By Kantaro Komiya

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese unions are demanding the biggest pay rise in more than 20 years in spring wage talks, national labor statistics showed on Friday , the government and central bank urged companies to raise wages for workers to support the economy.

A survey aimed at more than 2 people, National trade unions show that this year there are an average of 4.49% raise request, first time since 1997 over 4%’ s 4.49%, according to the Japan Trade Union Confederation (JTUC). It was also the highest level since mid-term 1990, according to a statement from JTUC.

Workers in the world’s third-largest economy were encouraged by policymakers’ calls for higher wages to sustain a fragile post-pandemic recovery threatened by a decade of high inflation.

Despite the higher cost burden, major Japanese firms have pledged sharp wage hikes to retain skilled workers amid a tight workforce.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, last week accepted the union’s demand for the largest base wage increase in 20 years, It was followed by a deal between rival Honda and its union calling for a 5 percent pay rise.

Gaming giant Nintendo said it would increase workers’ basic wages by %, while fashion brand Uniqlo’s parent company Fast Retailing Announce up to 40% salary increase.

Preliminary JTUC surveys show that during this year’s annual collective bargaining, the union’s average demand is called “shunto”” in Japanese, 2.85%.

JTUC, popularly known as “Rengo” is the largest labor organization in the country, representing about 7 million workers. Although those in smaller businesses People who are working, casual or not in a union tend to get smaller wage increases, if not flat, and the shunto result is seen as a harbinger of wage trends in the country.

According to JTUC , whose unions and companies agreed to an average wage increase of 2.07 last year, higher than the previous two years, but still short of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s demand for a raise growth to stimulate economic growth.

As of January, the Center for Economic Research in Japan estimates that large companies will offer 2x wage increases.97 average percentage for the year starting in April, which would be the fastest raise since 1997.

Bank of Japan officials said the outcome of the pay hike talks is an important criterion for determining the future direction of its ultra-loose monetary policy.



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