(March 4): Labour unions at major Japanese companies are demanding workers get their highest pay raise in 25 years, according to the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, as surging prices squeeze household budgets across the nation.
Union officials submitted their requests for monthly wage increases, which resulted in demands for an average increase of 4.49%, or ¥13,338 (US$98 or RM439.48) per month as of March 1, according to a press release on Friday (March 3). The last time members of the confederation sought an increase of more than 4% was in 1998, it said.
The wage negotiations highlight the difficulties Japan is facing in getting large-scale wage rises to take hold amid higher food and fuel prices. The Bank of Japan has said that increases in pay are crucial to its goal of achieving steady, demand-led inflation.
In wage talks between the confederation, known as Rengo, and the Japan Business Federation that began in late January, both sides are working to raise compensation, which they agree should increase relatively sharply amid rising inflation. Rengo itself is asking for about 5%, the largest hike in 28 years.