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Companies must bargain in good faith in ‘shunto’ negotiations

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This year’s “shunto” (spring battle) annual wage negotiations between Japanese companies and their labor unions are coming into full swing.

Despite growing uncertainty in the nation’s economic outlook, the upward trend in wages in the past several years should be maintained for steady pay growth.

Rengo, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, the umbrella organization of labor unions in Japan, decided on a set of principles for this year’s shunto negotiations during its central committee meeting last month.

Rengo has decided to call for a monthly base-pay increase of around 2 percent. Its other demands include greater equality in wages, or narrower wage gaps among workers irrespective of the size of their companies or their employment formats (full-time or part-time employees, for instance), and minimum-wage agreements within companies to prop up pay levels.

Meanwhile, Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), the nation’s largest business lobby, pledged in a recently published report to encourage its member........

© The Asahi Shimbun