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Japan small manufacturers’ union demands record base pay rise


TOKYO : A Japanese union representing small manufacturers announced on Tuesday a demand for a record monthly pay increase of 12,000 yen ($80), or 4 per cent of base pay, for 2024, officials said.

The demand from the Japanese Association of Metal, Machinery and Manufacturing Workers (JAM) follows similar demands for pay increases from other unions, offering hope for an end to the deflation that has dogged Japan for more than a decade, and for the Bank of Japan to bring policy normalisation closer.

This year’s annual wage talks between labour and management have resulted in wage increases of about 3.6 per cent at big firms, the highest in three decades. Policymakers are putting pressure on firms to raise wages even more next year.

About 70 per cent of Japanese workers are employed by small and medium enterprises (SME) so they are key to seeing extensive wage increases.

“What’s important is to realise wage growth that is faster than price hikes,” JAM chairman Katahiro Yasukochi told reporters.

For 2024, Japan’s largest trade union confederation Rengo has demanded pay increases of 5 per cent or more, 3 per cent of which consists of a base pay rise.

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