The Keidanren business lobby plans to urge its member companies to raise incomes on an annual basis in this year's shunto (spring wage talks) between labor and management. This will be the fourth consecutive year that the nation's biggest business lobby has made such a request. According to a final draft of its shunto policy, Keidanren will ask member firms to raise annual employee income by increasing bonuses, benefits and pay scale. They will be asked to consider pay hikes in light of an expected inflation rate, the draft says, with an emphasis on pay-scale increases for employees with small children. While proposing a review of spousal allowances, Keidanren will encourage member firms to establish benefits aimed at preventing employees from quitting to take care of family members.
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.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday asked business leaders to agree to pay hikes in next spring's shunto wage talks as the Japanese economy struggles to beat chronic deflation. It is the fourth straight year that Abe has made the request to company executives. Despite years of efforts under his Abenomics policy mix, Abe, who took office in 2012, has yet to fully create a virtuous cycle of wage growth and robust consumer spending in Japan. "I hope to see wage hikes that would be at least on a par with this year," Abe told a meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office in Tokyo attended by business leaders. "I'd like to ask for pay-scale increases," Abe said.
Annual spring wage negotiations got into full swing Wednesday as labor unions from Japan's major automakers submitted their requests to management amid an uncertain global economic outlook. This year, Toyota Motor Corp.'s union, seen as the industry's trendsetter, did not present a specific target for a hike in base pay, focusing instead on securing an overall improvement in benefits for employees. Workers at Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co., meanwhile, stuck to demanding a monthly base wage hike of ¥3,000 as in last year's talks. The automotive industry negotiations have a strong influence on other sectors. Most major Japanese companies are expected to respond to requests from labor unions on March 13.