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Major Manufacturing Companies Offer Bonus Hikes
in Reply to Union Demands

In this year's Spring Labour Struggle for Betterment of Livelihood (shunto), the management of major companies in the automobile, electric machinery, and other manufacturing industries simultaneously gave replies to union demands on March 13, with many companies offering regular wage and bonus raises in excess of last year's levels, as demanded by their unions.
In order to break away from the prolonged recession and deflationary situation in Japan, where nominal wages have continued to decline for 15 years, RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) called for the "restoration of damaged employment and working conditions" in this spring's labour struggle, proposing, among other things, (1) improvement of the treatment of all workers, (2) the development and treatment of human resources to generate high added value, (3) the jacking up, improvement, and recovery of working conditions, (4) the correction of disparities, and (5) 1 % raise of the basic wage as a standard in order to improve wage and other working conditions.
Regarding wages, the unions of major manufacturers decided to forgo demands for a basic wage hike this time and instead called for the usual annual raise of regular wages, by which the monthly wage increases in accordance with age and number of years of employment, and a bonus hike.
Of 10 large companies in the automobile industry, 9 companies accepted their union's bonus demands in full. Furthermore, although Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) had stated immediately after the start of the spring struggle that it would be difficult to implement not only the basic but the regular wage hike as well, leading companies in the distribution industry attracted much attention when they announced the implementation of basic wage raises, showing that the management side also recognizes the need to give a spur to domestic personal consumption.
Following the simultaneous replies from major companies, from now on negotiations are continuing in small and medium-sized enterprises. Industrial federations are boosting their support for unions in small and medium-sized enterprises and in the regions with a view to reaching settlements by the end of March. Backed by their industrial federations, small and medium-sized unions are promoting negotiations aimed at the correction of disparities and the realization of wage hikes and equal and fair treatment. At the same time, in cooperation with the RENGO Headquarters, prefectural branches of RENGO are making efforts toward early settlements by strengthening the sharing of information between industrial federations and small and medium-sized unions in the prefectures and helping to form and spread standard wage-hike levels in each prefecture.

Replies as of March 14
Average wage hike (402 unions, 576,200 people): 5,273 yen, 1.74%
Average hourly wage hike for part-time workers (26 unions): 15.96 yen

Statutory Disabled Persons Employment Quota to Be Raised
from 1.8% to 2% for Private Companies

The revised Disabled Persons Employment Promotion Act which goes into effect from April 1, 2013, will raise the statutory disabled persons employment quota for private companies from 1.8% to 2.%
Originally enacted in 1960 with the purpose of promoting the employment of disabled persons and their job stability, the Disabled Persons Employment Promotion Act stipulates measures for the occupational guidance, vocational training, and employment placement of disabled persons; the promotion of vocational rehabilitation to encourage independence in their working lives; the operation of a disabled employment quota system making it legally obligatory for companies to hire physically and mentally disabled persons; and the introduction of a subsidy system to support the employment of physically, mentally, and psychiatrically disabled persons from the economic side. At present the statutory disabled persons employment quota is 1.8%, but the ratio of companies achieving this figure remains less than half at 47% in 2010, 45.3% in 2011, and 46.8% in 2012.
The main revisions to be introduced from April 1 are: (1) the disabled persons employment quota for private companies with 50 or more full-time workers (56 before the revision) will be raised from the current 1.8% to 2%; (2) the disabled persons employment quota for the state, local public bodies, and special corporations will be raised from the current 2.1% to 2.3%; and (3) the disabled persons employment quota for prefectural and municipal boards of education will be raised from the current 2.0% to 2.2%. As well as raising the quotas, the revision makes it obligatory for employers to install facilities and equipment necessary to promote and continue the employment of disabled persons, to report on the state of their employment of disabled persons, and to notify the local Hello Work employment office when they dismiss a disabled person. In addition, the government is urging companies to improve their recruitment of disabled persons by levying a penalty of 50,000 yen per person on companies with 201 employees or more that do not achieve the statutory quota and conversely offering a subsidy of 27,000 yen per person to companies that recruit in excess of the quota.
In its policy and system demands and proposals for 2012-13, RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) emphasizes that all people have the right to decent work and urges the need to promote the participation, not the exclusion, of socially vulnerable people; to provide training opportunities to people who require work as well as livelihood security for them during the period of training; to provide better quality employment opportunities; to supply comfortable living space for people with disabilities; and to offer them well-tuned assistance toward employment. RENGO is engaging in various activities in order to solve these issues.

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