Wages Not Keeping Pace with Rising Prices
As prices continue to rise, a survey conducted by the RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) Research and Survey Institute has found that nearly 60% of company employees feel that wage growth has not kept pace with the rise in prices.
Twice a year, RENGO-RIALS (JTUC Rengo Research Institute for the Advancement of Living Standards) conducts The Questionnaire Survey on Work and Life of Workers among 2000 men and women aged 20 to 64 working for companies in the Tokyo and Kansai regions. The results of this year’s second survey were announced on October 31.
According to the survey;
(1) 57.4% of respondents, or nearly 60%, said that “the rise in prices is greater than the growth of wages” when comparing the situation of prices and wages with one year ago. 15.6% of respondents said “about the same level,” while 7.7% said “wage growth is greater than the rise in prices.”
(2) By age group, 69.8% of those in their 50s and 71.9% of those in their early 60s answered that “price increases are greater than wage growth,” higher than other age groups.
(3) Compared to a year ago, 7.1% answered that their living conditions had improved and 54.8% stated that conditions had remained the same, while 34.8% stated that conditions had worsened, meaning that one in three people felt that their living conditions had worsened.
Furthermore, 35.5% of respondents said that one year from now, the situation would be worse than now.
(4) Although 54.7% of the respondents answered their outlook for wage-based income in a year’s time would not change, 20.1% said it would decrease, and over 16.0% said it would increase. The view that wages would decrease is particularly strong among female non-regular employees, employees of small-sized companies, and employees without trade unions.
As consumer prices continue to soar due to factors such as the sharp depreciation of the yen, instability in the international situation, and rising energy prices, people are increasingly worried about their livelihoods.
At its monetary policy meeting on October 27 and 28, the Bank of Japan raised its forecast for price increases in FY2022 to 2.9% from 2.3% year-on-year in July.
This consumer price increase of 2.9% is the highest level in 30 years, higher than the 2.7% in FY1991. Moreover, 80% of the rise in prices this time has been due to increases in food and energy prices, which have a greater impact on people’s lives. Incidentally, in 1991, non-energy and non-food items accounted for 60% of the increase in prices.
On October 20, the RENGO announced its basic concept for the 2023 Spring Labour Struggle.
According to the plan, rising prices have made life difficult for working people and there are high expectations for wage increases, and thus RENGO has declared its intention to demand a wage increase of 3% and regular pay raise of 2%, for a total of 5%.
This will be the first time in 28 years, since the 1995 Spring Labour Struggle, that a wage increase of more than 5 percent has been demanded. In order to improve the lives of working people as well as revitalize the Japanese economy, we hope that wage increases will be secured to cover price increases and lead to increased consumption.