Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), urged member companies Monday to increase pay on an annual basis, including bonuses and allowances, as part of this year's spring wage negotiations, known as shunto. Following the 2015 Christmas Day overwork-related suicide of a 24-year-old female employee at ad giant Dentsu Inc., Sakakibara also asked member firms to promote changes in workplace culture. "Top management will play a leading role in changing Japan's corporate culture of highly evaluating employees who work long hours," Sakakibara said during a speech at a two-day management-labor forum organized by Keidanren. The forum effectively marked the start of the 2017 shunto talks. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has asked businesses to carry out wage hikes for the fourth consecutive year.
Rikio Kozu, president of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), has stressed that the labor side will push for hikes in regular monthly wages in this year's shunto annual wage negotiations. While Japan's biggest business lobby, the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), has said it will increase wages "on an annual basis," including bonuses, Rengo will focus on monthly wages, Kozu said in a recent interview, showing his resolve to achieve pay-scale increases for the fourth straight year. "Hikes in regular monthly wages should be taken as a must-do," Kozu said. To help escape deflation, Rengo believes pay gaps between large and small companies should continuously be narrowed through hikes in regular monthly wages, Kozu said. "Workers are more likely to spend money from pay-scale hikes than gains from bonuses," he said.
The Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, plans to call on member companies to raise wages in line with individual workers' roles and performance instead of doing so across the board, sources said Tuesday. The policy is slated to be included in Keidanren's management-side guidelines for next year's shuntō spring wage talks. The draft guidelines call for efforts to carry out pay raises on the basis of performance and duties, while leaving blanket pay-scale increases as an option for companies seeing favorable business performance. They also emphasize that companies seeing major downturns in earnings due to the coronavirus crisis should "prioritize business continuity and employment protection" in discussions with the labor side. After further discussions, Keidanren will adopt the guidelines in January next year, informed sources said.
There was 2.19 percent growth in monthly salaries agreed by labor and management at 62 major Japanese companies in this year's shunto talks, the lowest in three years, the Japan Business Federation said Monday. The figures are all on an interim report basis. But monthly salaries, including base wages and regular pay, are up by 7,174 on average in the 2016 shunto, topping 7,000 for three years on end, following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's request for pay increases. The wage growth rate was smaller than in the past two years, mainly reflecting growing economic uncertainties on the back of China's slowing economic growth and the appreciation of the yen, although Keidanren called on member companies to offer bigger pay hikes than in 2015. This year, many automaker and electronics maker unions demanded lower pay hikes.