Aeon to Raise Part-Timer Wages by 7 %

Reuters file photo
A customer uses a shopping cart bearing the logo of Aeon Co. at its supermarket in Tokyo in 2009.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japanese retailer Aeon Co. will raise hourly wages by 7% on average from March for about 400,000 part-timers working in supermarkets and other stores run by about 150 domestic units, people familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

With the large wage hike, Aeon aims to maintain the standard of living of its part-timers amid soaring prices and boost its productivity by securing skilled workers.

The move by Aeon, which employs the largest number of part-timers in the country, may encourage other companies to follow suit.

The Aeon group employs 80% of its workers as part-timers. Their average hourly wages are about ¥1,000 and annual income about ¥1.2 million.

The wage increase will raise the average hourly wages by about ¥70 and annual income by about ¥80,000.

That would boost annual labor costs by over ¥30 billion, but the company intends to absorb the increase by raising productivity.

Prices are rising by about 4% year on year in Japan. UA Zensen, a labor union for the distribution industry, is demanding a wage increase of about 6% in this year’s wage talks.