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Standards Settled for 2010 Regional Minimum Wage Raise

Standards to be raised
On August 6 the Central Minimum Wage Deliberation Council, a tripartite body that deliberates and sets standards for minimum wage increases, settled the standards for regional minimum wage increases in 2010. The raise was set at 10 yen per hour in every rank of A, B, C, and D, which is the regional ranking determined by economic conditions. The results will be referred to regional authorities. The labour side argued that in prefectures where the minimum wage level is lower than the livelihood protection allowance, the gap should be eliminated as early as possible. In six prefectures where the gap is recognized to be wide, however, elimination has in fact been extended by one year. As a result, the weighted average of the raise for workers covered by the minimum wage has become 15 yen. Considering the increase in the number of low-income earners and the severe economic situation that people are facing, the settlement is not satisfactory for the labour side.

RENGO's comment

Hiroyuki Nagumo,
General Secretary of JTUC-RENGO

RENGO General Secretary Hiroyuki Nagumo commented that the labour side unfortunately could not manage to attain its target of 800 yen in three years in prefectures in the lowest D rank so that the C and D rank levels could be hiked at an early stage. He added that the gap between the minimum wage level and the livelihood protection allowance had not been settled either. But General Secretary Nagumo also remarked that in the midst of the huge discrepancies that exist in regional economic and employment conditions, it was significant that a two-digit raise had been attained in the D rank for the first time since 2002, when the hourly amount came to be set. He stated that RENGO was determined to continue its aim of raising the minimum wage to a livable level and radically changing the minimum wage system.

Wage Reduction Recommended for National Public Employees

Reduction of monthly wage and annual bonus
On August 11 the National Personnel Authority (NPA) made a recommendation to the government and the National Diet concerning the working conditions, including wages, of national public employees. The NPA recommended reducing the monthly wage by 0.19% and the annual bonus by 0.2 months. Reflecting the situation in the private sector, wage reductions have been recommended for two successive years.

Compensatory measure for restriction of trade union rights
As a compensatory measure for the restriction of the basic trade union rights of public employees, their working conditions, including wages, are determined by the National Diet on the basis of recommendations by the National Personnel Authority (NPA). The NPA's recommendation is usually made in conformity with developments in the private sector every year.

RENGO's comment
Commenting on the 2010 recommendation, RENGO General Secretary Hiroyuki Nagumo said that the lives of public employees would be greatly influenced by the reduction of their wages and expressed his dissatisfaction with the recommendation. He also said that the recommendation would have a negative impact on working conditions in small and medium-sized enterprises and local industries.

Recovery of trade union rights for public employees
General Secretary Nagumo also stated that RENGO had demanded that the working conditions of public employees, including their wages, should be determined by collective bargaining in the same way as in the private sector. He expressed his hope that reform of the public employee system would be realized in the next ordinary session of the National Diet with the recovery of basic trade union rights for public employees in accordance with the recommendation of the International Labour Organization in order to establish a system that would provide a good quality of public service.

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