Spring labor negotiations are in full swing, with a focus on achieving sustainable wage increases.

Some major companies are moving to settle the union's demands with full compensation, and attention is on whether this will lead to wage increases for non-regular workers, who account for nearly 40% of all workers.

table of contents

  • Major company labor unions begin full-scale negotiations on wage increases for non-regular employees

  • “Irregular spring labor” Initiatives for part-time and temporary workers without unions

  • Low labor union membership rate: Strengthening efforts from the labor union side

  • Expert: “To realize a virtuous economic cycle, it is important to raise wages for non-regular workers”

Open table of contents

table of contents

table of contents

  • Major company labor unions begin full-scale negotiations on wage increases for non-regular employees

  • “Irregular spring labor” Initiatives for part-time and temporary workers without unions

  • Low labor union membership rate: Strengthening efforts from the labor union side

  • Expert: “To realize a virtuous economic cycle, it is important to raise wages for non-regular workers”

March 13th is the day for intensive responses to this year's spring labor union, and negotiations between management and unions have begun at many companies, with some major companies already responding to the union's demands by offering the full amount. There is movement.

In the automobile industry, Honda's labor union demanded a monthly wage increase of 20,000 yen, including base increases and periodic wage increases, and the company responded in full, while Mazda's labor union demanded a wage increase of 20,000 yen per month. We have responded in full to the request for a monthly wage increase of 16,000 yen, including the base increase and regular salary increases.

There is also a movement in which non-regular workers are agreeing to higher wages.

According to UA Zensen, which is formed by labor unions in the distribution and service industries, there have been a number of reports of full wage agreements in the distribution industry since last week, and major supermarkets Aeon Retail and Daiei have increased wages by more than 7% for part-time workers. Both rates exceeded the wage increases for full-time employees.

Spring labor negotiations are in full swing at other companies, and there is a growing movement to raise wages, especially among regular employees.Nearly 40% of all workers, or about 21 million people nationwide, are in non-regular employment. It will be interesting to see if it leads to this.

Major company labor unions begin full-scale negotiations on wage increases for non-regular employees

Labor unions at major companies have included wage increases for non-regular employees, including part-time workers, in addition to full-time employees, in their spring labor demands, and negotiations with management have begun in earnest.

Approximately 42,000 members have joined the labor union of Welcia Pharmacy, a major drug store that operates 2,200 stores nationwide, and 30,000 of these members are part-time workers or non-regular employees. I'm an employee.

Many of the employees working at stores are such non-regular employees, and the labor union's officers continue to visit stores to hear from union members about the issues they are experiencing on-site.

In February, two union officials visited a store in Koto Ward, Tokyo, and interviewed a part-time employee who had been working for the store for seven years about his living situation and hourly wage preferences.

The executive said, ``The company will respond to the opinions of the union, so that the voices of the employees can be realized,'' and when asked about his hopes for the spring labor movement, the man responded, ``Prices are rising, so I would like wages to be raised a little.'' We talked about our expectations.

The man said, ``When prices go up at supermarkets, etc., I sometimes refrain from shopping.Hourly wages have increased several times in the past, but I wonder if they are keeping up with the rate of price increases.'' I hope we can connect in a way that conveys the message," he said.

The labor union reflects the voices it collects in its demands during negotiations, and in meetings with union executives, many say ``family finances are tough,'' and even when we apply for employees, we don't get any, so we feel there is a labor shortage. I was told that there are many stores.

Then, on January 20th, the first labor-management negotiations of this year's spring struggle were held with the president and directors in attendance, and camera coverage was permitted.

On the occasion, the labor union chairman complained, ``The wave of price hikes has not stopped, and the lives of our workers are becoming more and more difficult every day, and with the future uncertain, there is deep-rooted anxiety.''

In response, the president said, ``The company's desire is to provide a good working environment and conditions so that workers can work with enthusiasm, and both labor and management share this desire.Together, we want to build a good company for the future.'' It was responding.

The committee chairperson called for an increase in the hourly wages of part-time workers to a higher level than in previous years, citing the need to increase hiring capabilities in order to support the lives of employees amid soaring prices and to cope with labor shortages. I handed over the completed request form.

After the first labor-management negotiations, management director Koji Takahashi said, ``We are experiencing a rapid labor shortage, especially in urban areas, and we will not be able to win the recruitment competition unless we maintain our competitiveness. The motivation of part-time workers has a huge impact on business performance.If we can't continue to raise wages, we won't be able to compete, so I want to firmly accept the union's demands.''

Taiki Nakamura, chairman of the labor union's central executive committee, said, ``As a labor union with 40,000 employees, we feel a very heavy responsibility. I want to play my role. I believe that achieving tangible results through spring labor negotiations and consultations is a good opportunity to make the existence of the labor union known, so I would like to make an effort to convey my thoughts to the company." I was there.

“Irregular spring labor” Initiatives for part-time and temporary workers without unions

Even in cases where companies do not have a labor union, an initiative called ``non-regular spring labor'' has begun, in which people working in non-regular employment, such as part-time workers and temporary employees, come together to demand higher wages.

The ``Irregular Spring Labor'' is an initiative that began last year in which part-time and temporary employees seek wage increases from their respective workplaces.

This year, 21 labor unions that individuals can join are demanding a uniform wage increase of at least 10% from 120 companies.

In January, about 50 people gathered in front of the Keidanren in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, and shouted, ``The workplace is supported by non-regular workers. Large companies should listen to the voices of workers and improve their treatment.''

Yuki Oshima (59), who is participating in the initiative, works as a non-regular travel tour conductor.

Ms. Oshima has been registered with the same temporary staffing company for over 20 years, primarily working as a tour guide on overseas trips, and she was interviewed by NHK in 2008, 16 years ago, appealing for better treatment for her. .

However, she has hardly ever received a raise since then, and her current salary is approximately 1,900 yen per hour.

Furthermore, since the coronavirus outbreak, my income has become unstable due to fewer overseas tours, and as prices continue to soar, I have been working as an office worker to make ends meet.

Ms. Oshima, who lives with her sister, is worried that if things continue as they are, she will be forced to draw down her savings for retirement.

In February, she went into negotiations with the company along with a representative from a union promoting an ``irregular spring labor'' and demanded a wage increase, but the company responded that they were unable to do so. That means there wasn't.

As of February 28, the company's response has not changed, but Mr. Oshima plans to continue negotiating with the company.

After the negotiations, Mr. Oshima said, ``It may take a long time, but I would like to continue negotiations without giving up.The job of a tour conductor is very physically and mentally demanding, but I hope that I can continue as long as there are people who want to do this job.'' I would like to aim for better treatment and better treatment.''

Masayoshi Kanno, executive chairman of the Tokyo Eastern Labor Union, who attended the negotiations with Mr. Oshima, said, ``It's very reassuring to be able to appeal to others who are fighting the same way in the framework of the irregular spring labor movement.We support the company.'' I believe that workers, including non-regular workers, are suffering from this, so I would like to work with my fellow workers who have stood up and raised their voices to win improvements in their treatment."

Low labor union membership rate: Strengthening efforts from the labor union side

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, there were over 21 million people working in non-regular employment in Japan last year, accounting for 37% of the total workforce, and the wage level is about 60 to 70% of that of regular employees, with a noticeable disparity between them and regular employees. .

One of the reasons why it is difficult to achieve wage increases for non-regular employees is the low rate of participation in labor unions.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, 1.41 million part-time workers are members of labor unions, with an estimated unionization rate of 8.4%.

Even if you are a member of a union, there is a sense of distance between you and the labor union, making it difficult to reflect your demands for higher wages in negotiations.

In a survey conducted by Rengo Research Institute in 2022 targeting 500 part-time workers across the country, 62% said they "do not participate in union activities at all."

Furthermore, when asked about their image of labor unions with multiple answers,

30% said ``I don't have a particular image of them,''

18% said ``It's hard to understand what kind of activities they do,'' and

17% said ``I don't feel close to them.'' I did.

In response to this situation, there is a growing movement on the part of labor unions to strengthen their efforts with an emphasis on improving the treatment of non-regular employees.

Rengo, the central organization of labor unions, has called for the rectification of disparities in this year's spring campaign,

calling for a minimum wage of at least 1,200 yen per hour within companies that labor and management agree on, as well as

raising wages to a level commensurate with the value of work. , the government is calling for the introduction of a system for part-time workers that is similar to the wage increase rules for full-time workers.

We also respond to consultations by phone, email, and online, and last year we received over 6,800 consultations from part-time workers.

In addition, UA Zensen, an industry-specific labor union formed by approximately 2,200 unions such as those in the textile, distribution, and service industries, where approximately 60% of its members are non-regular employees, has announced that during this year's spring labor union, non-regular employees will be paid 70 yen per hour. Negotiations are in full swing with a policy of seeking further increases based on the increase in the amount of tax.

Expert: “To realize a virtuous economic cycle, it is important to raise wages for non-regular workers”

Hisashi Yamada, a visiting researcher at the Japan Research Institute, who is familiar with the spring strikes, said, ``Prices are rising and life is becoming difficult, so raising the wages of non-regular workers is extremely important in terms of protecting their livelihoods.'' From a macro perspective, it is difficult for the economy as a whole to function unless the wages of non-regular workers increase in terms of overall consumption. A virtuous cycle of prices and wages, an end to deflation, and a virtuous cycle of the economy. In order to achieve this, it is extremely important to raise the wages of non-regular workers, who account for nearly 40% of the workforce."

Regarding the activities of labor unions at major companies, he said, ``If we raise the wages of non-regular employees at major companies, it means that competing companies will not be able to secure workers unless they also raise wages, so we will raise wages across the board.'' The ripple effect is significant. If existing unions become proactive about raising wages for non-regular workers, the unionization rate, which had been on the decline, will rise, leading to union revitalization."

Regarding the movement of ``irregular spring labor'', ``In the sense of providing relief to people who have not been able to provide sufficient support to existing labor unions and those in weak positions, there is no significance in the activities of individual member unions.'' "It's very big."