Keidanren: Pay hikes at major Japanese firms average 2.27%

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
An employee of the Japan Council of Metalworkers’ Union in Tokyo write the status of companies’ responses in the 2021 spring labor offensive.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Monthly wage hikes agreed so far between major Japanese companies and their unions in this year’s “shunto” labor-management negotiations have averaged ¥7,430, or 2.27%, the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, said Friday.

The average growth rate, compared with the 1.82% rise in the previous year’s shunto, was up year on year for the first time in four years, according to the biggest Japanese business lobby’s initial survey on the 2022 shunto. In the survey, 81 companies in 14 industries gave answers.

The average pay increase came to ¥9,748, or 3.02%, at 26 firms whose earnings recovered to levels before the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Before the start of this year’s shunto, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed his hope that companies that saw their earnings rise back to pre-pandemic levels would increase wages by over 3%.

Following the request, Keidanren additionally released data covering companies with strong earnings this time. “As we have come out of the downtrend [in the wage growth rate] that started in 2019, we believe that we can get a pass mark,” a senior Keidanren official said.

Whether soaring prices will be reflected in wages could be an issue on the agenda in next year’s shunto negotiations, the official added.

The average wage growth in the 2022 shunto fell year on year at two of the 14 sectors. The two industries—freight transport and commerce—posted a rise of 1.28% and 1.70%, respectively.

Of the 12 sectors with larger growth, construction companies saw a rise of 3.76%, steelmakers 2.98%, and machinery and metal producers 2.71%.

Keidanren will release its final survey result in July.