Rikio Kozu, president of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) has expressed again his intention to place emphasis on monthly pay-scale hikes in this year’s spring wage negotiations, known as shunto.
Even if bonuses rise in line with corporate earnings, that does not mean better outlooks for the lives of workers, Kozu said in a recent interview.
The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for the talks to a result in a 3 percent rise in wages. But Kozu said Rengo will demand a 4 percent hike.
“It is natural that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is requesting major wage hikes from the management side in the current stage of attempts to end deflation,” Kozu said.
Kozu stressed the importance of spreading wage hikes to everyone, including employees at small companies.
“If managers of small companies think, ‘That’s got nothing to do with us,’ then we can’t get out of deflation,” Kozu said, adding it is extremely important to raise the wages of poorly paid workers.
A “big point” in this year’s talks will be how to promote work-style reforms, Kozu said. The introduction of equal pay for equal work is being discussed as part of such reforms.
Labor and management need to use the talks to confirm what “equal” should mean before the Diet begins deliberations on the reform legislation, Kozu said.
Asked how to improve productivity, Kozu said many managers seem to think they can boost productivity by reducing manpower and costs. But better productivity will be delivered only by establishing prices that match the quality of goods and services provided, Kozu said.
Kozu also expressed his readiness to put effort into correcting unfair trade practices that hurt subcontractors.