Ja­pan auto unions seek slim­mer pay raises

The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS -

TOKYO: Ja­pan's auto work­ers will ask for raises from car­mak­ers led by Toy­ota Mo­tor Corp. for a third straight year while scal­ing back from their de­mands in 2015. Eleven unions rep­re­sent­ing work­ers at Ja­pan auto com­pa­nies will each seek 3,000 yen ($26) monthly raises for the fis­cal year be­gin­ning in April, the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Ja­pan Au­to­mo­bile Work­ers' Unions said Wed­nes­day in a state­ment. The groups asked for 6,000 yen a year ago and reached agree­ments with com­pa­nies for 3,000 yen on av­er­age. Au­tomak­ers are among Ja­pan Inc. com­pa­nies that have kept a tight lid on wages even as they earn record prof­its. Ja­pan's work­ers eked out a 0.1 per­cent raise in 2015, with in­comes ac­tu­ally drop­ping by 0.9 per­cent af­ter ad­just­ing for in­fla­tion. Real earn­ings have de­clined for the past four years, drag­ging on con­sump­tion and hold­ing back Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe's ef­forts to spur in­fla­tion and growth. "Wage hikes this year may be lack­lus­ter," Ju­nichi Makino, chief econ­o­mist at SMBC Nikko Se­cu­ri­ties Inc., wrote in a Jan. 29 re­port. "On the union side, base salary in­crease de­mands are run­ning at about half the level of last year. Man­age­ment is cau­tious on salary hikes given the rise in fixed costs as the yen ap­pre­ci­ates." Ja­pan's econ­omy shrank in the fi­nal three months of last year, the fifth quar­terly con­trac­tion un­der Abe.

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