Japan Sees Below-2 Pct Wage Hike for 1st Time in 7 Yrs


Tokyo, March 13 (Jiji Press)--Wage increases offered by Japanese companies to labor unions so far in "shunto" spring negotiations averaged 1.91 pct, failing to reach 2 pct for the first time in seven years, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo, reported Friday.

Such a slow rise has not been seen since 1.74 pct in the 2013 shunto, held before the government started demanding firms actively increase wages under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Abenomics reflationary policy.

Rengo's first tally of wage hike offers, reported by 577 unions, also showed that small and medium-sized companies with unions having 299 or fewer members proposed to raise wages by an average 2.05 pct, suggesting that the pay gap between large and small businesses shrank.

At a press conference, Rengo President Rikio Kozu said the ongoing coronavirus crisis is believed to deal a severer blow to the global economy than the collapse of major U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Then he blamed leading automaker Toyota Motor Corp. <7203> for offering no pay-scale hike.

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Jiji Press