As prices continue to soar, the focus is on how much wage increases will be realized in this year's spring labor offensive.

RENGO chairman Yoshino emphasized in an interview with NHK that the economy needs to shift to a stage where wages continue to rise, and that he is aiming for a significant wage increase.

In this year's spring labor offensive, the union is seeking a wage increase of about 5%, the highest level since 1995, including the amount equivalent to the "base increase" and the regular salary increase.

In an interview, chairman Yoshino commented on the lives of working people ahead of the spring labor offensive, saying, "We're in a triple whammy of the corona crisis, high prices, and a weak yen. So far, many of the voices of the RENGO have been about issues within the workplace. But now it's definitely changing into a life issue."

On top of that, Chairman Yoshino commented on this year's spring battle, "Even from an international perspective, Japan's wage level pales in comparison. The stage itself is an economy in which real wages continue to rise by wiping out the deflationary mindset that has existed for 20 years. It is necessary to change, and this year will be a very important negotiation as a turning point.We will firmly take a wage increase of about 5%, ”he emphasized the idea of ​​aiming for a significant wage increase.

He added, "The wage increase of small and medium-sized enterprises is very large for Japan as a whole, and I would like to focus on improving the environment for small and medium-sized enterprises to raise wages, such as the problem of passing on prices and fair trade. Non-regular employment and freelance work are also commensurate with the value of work. I would like to strengthen my efforts to have a ripple effect on people outside the labor union," he said, showing his willingness to work to spread wage increases beyond large companies. I was.

The spring labor offensive will actually start at the end of this month, and labor unions affiliated with RENGO will submit demands to management by the end of next month, after which labor-management negotiations will get into full swing.

[Q&A] Ask Rengo Chairman Yoshino This year's spring struggle

This year's spring struggle will actually start at the end of this month.

We asked Rengo Chairman Yoshino about the aims of the request policy and what to emphasize in negotiations.

Q. How do you perceive the current situation ahead of the Spring Labor Offensive?

A. There is a triple whammy for workers and consumers: the corona crisis, high prices, and a weak yen.

High prices are putting a lot of pressure on household budgets, and low-income earners in particular are having a hard time right now.

The voices of people in need have reached the RENGO.

Until now, RENGO had been receiving a lot of problems in the workplace, but now they are definitely changing to problems in daily life, and we recognize that the number of households facing financial difficulties is increasing accordingly.

Q. How do you see the current wage level?

A. Japan's wage level is lagging behind the rest of the world.

Wage increases have not caught up with price hikes, and unless this is improved, the economy will not recover, there will be no consumption, and there will be a labor shortage.

Q. What is the aim of requesting a wage increase of about 5% when combined with regular wage increases?

A. There are three points.

The first is from a medium-term perspective, as Japan's economy continues to stagnate, and in order to bring wage levels up to par with international standards, it is necessary to make "investment in people," which has been inadequate for more than 20 years. keep pushing forward.

The second is the response to price increases from a short-term perspective.

It is necessary to foresee the effects of price reductions due to the government's energy price restraint measures.

The third is a macro perspective.

We recognize that it is necessary to dispel the deflationary mindset that has existed for 20 years and change the stage of the economy to one in which real wages continue to rise.

This does not mean that we will raise wages only for a single year.

Wages must continue to rise, and the focus is on sustainably raising real wages.

Until now, the stagnant situation has continued for a long time, with neither wages nor prices rising.

Q. How did you feel about the spring battle?

A. We have set a target of about 5% this year, so we are expecting a wage increase more than last year, and companies are also being asked to do something different than before.

This year, companies are also showing more positive enthusiasm than usual.

Coupled with the labor shortage, I think there is a recognition that management will be left behind by the rest of the world and the Japanese economy will not thrive unless they take a different approach.

We will firmly take measures to increase wages by about 5% and raise real wages.

Q. How do you perceive the position of wage increases for SMEs?

A. Wage increases for SMEs are very large for Japan as a whole.

Soaring raw material costs and soaring energy prices have become a heavy burden for companies as well.

Goods have fair prices and fair trade is very important.

It is very important to pass on the labor costs of the people who make things, bring them to an appropriate product price, and conduct transactions on that basis.

RENGO would like to focus on creating an environment in which small and medium-sized enterprises can raise wages, such as the issue of passing on higher wages and fair trade, and will strongly appeal to the government and employers' organizations.

Q. How will you address non-regular employment and freelance wage increases?

A. The union policy requires "1150 yen per hour".

Equal pay for equal work is also upheld, and treatment must be commensurate with the value of work.

Even within the affiliated unions, they will raise their demands firmly, and I would like them to actively seek improvements in their treatment that go beyond RENGO's policy.

For freelancers, Rengo is now recruiting network members.

We would like to focus on improving treatment while exchanging information.

It is very regrettable that the new freelance law did not pass the Diet, but RENGO would like to strengthen its efforts towards legislation.

In addition, we would like to have a ripple effect on people outside the labor union, and we would like to strengthen our efforts.