Japan's Auto Workers Seek Pay Raise Amid Soaring Profits

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
japan s auto workers seek pay raise amid soaring profits

Labor unions across Japan are seeking increases in base salaries and bonuses as local manufacturers pull in record profits for the closing fiscal year.

Bloomberg reports the unions will gather for their annual spring labor negotiations to ask automakers for an increase in bonuses equal to five months’ salary, with Toyota to receive a request for a 4,000 yen increase in monthly wages in addition to a bonus amounting to 6.8 months of salary; only Nissan will fail to post record profits come April 1.

The requests mark the first time in 15 years unions have asked for such increases, according to Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers’ Unions president Yasunobu Aihara:

“The Japanese economy is at a major turning point. To end the prolonged deflation and to ensure the nation’s economy will revive and grow sustainably, all member unions decide to ask for an increase in monthly base pay.”

The turning point is the work of current Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose economic reforms — dubbed Abenomics — spurred a 51 percent advance in the Topix index last year while also weakening the yen 18 percent against the dollar in the same period. The PM has urged all Japanese corporations to give some of their windfall profits to their workers in an effort to combat the possibility of a stalled economy as a result of wages failing to keep up with inflation.

“Japan can’t wait one or two years for salary gains, which are needed sooner for the economy to enter a virtuous cycle of rising profits, wages and growth,” said Deputy Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura late last year while Abe met with business and union leaders to work out wage increases tied to increased profits.

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  • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Feb 13, 2014

    I can see a profit-sharing bonus as a reasonable thing to ask for, but not a raise. Unless they are equally willing to take a cut in the lean years.

    • Hillman Hillman on Feb 13, 2014

      They probably were asked to cut back during the lean times. Funny how companies are so quick to ask for the staff to sacrifice during bad times but tend not to be so quick to reward during the good times.

  • GS 455 GS 455 on Feb 13, 2014

    The worker in the photo appears to be filling the windshield washer reservoir with a different type of fluid.

    • See 2 previous
    • Russycle Russycle on Feb 13, 2014

      I understand that Japanese workers are renowned for coming up with creative solutions to improve efficiency, but that guy's taking it a little too far. Earned his bonus though.

  • Billfrombuckhead Billfrombuckhead on Feb 13, 2014

    Japanese workers have unions? Maybe Toyota should let third world places like Kentucky have unions as well.

    • See 3 previous
    • RobertRyan RobertRyan on Feb 14, 2014

      @28-Cars-Later No it would be illegal as the workplace would be Japan or Germany and under the jurisdiction of those Governments. You could affiliate with those Unions in the sense they are like minded and discuss ways of approaching similar issues.

  • Pgcooldad Pgcooldad on Feb 13, 2014

    I hope unionized Japanese worker get raises, bonuses and more benefits. And for the non-union US transplant workers - thanks for all your hard work adding to the bottom line suckers!