Electric industry, Toyota unions to make robust pay demands this year

Japanese labor unions are adopting robust demands for this spring's annual wage talks, with those of Toyota Motor Corp. considering an average 2.35 million yen annual bonus and the electric industry its first basic pay hike in five years.

For the "shunto" labor-management negotiations, the 600,000-member Japanese Electrical, Electronic & Information Union, or Denki Rengo, decided Tuesday to demand a monthly pay-scale hike for the first time since 2009 of 4,000 yen or more for engineers.

The 63,000-member Toyota Motor Worker's Union is expected to decide Feb. 6 on a bonus demand equivalent to 6.8 months of wages, up 300,000 yen from previous year, along with an average 4,000 yen hike in the pay scale.

The electric industry union, comprising workers of mainly electric machinery makers, is a key member of Japan's largest labor union federation, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, also known as Rengo.

It has decided to demand a hike in the minimum monthly wage by 3,000 yen to 158,000 yen for an 18-year-old worker in the industry.

"A basic pay hike is necessary for these shunto talks. Otherwise, it won't contribute to a virtuous cycle in the Japanese economy," said Shoji Arino, leader of the industry union.

Last year it demanded only the maintenance of the pay scale, under which individual workers get seniority-based raises without an increase in total labor costs for the industry.