Japan firms offer over 3% pay rise, 1st time in 29 yrs

Japanese companies offered to raise wages by an average 3.58 percent in this year's spring wage talks, marking a more than 3 percent increase for the first time in 29 years, to cope with historically high inflation, the country's largest labor union said Wednesday.

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation, also known as Rengo, said the average wage increase was equivalent to 10,560 yen ($73) per month, in response to its demand for about a 5 percent pay hike in the "shunto" pay negotiations.

The offer was a result of tireless labor-management negotiations and "may be a turning point for the future," the union said.

Major automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., and some electronics manufacturers have granted the union demands in full.

The results come after data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed Japan's core consumer prices in May rose 3.2 percent from a year earlier, marking the 21st month of year-on-year increase.

"Companies may be responding to our view that we need to invest in people," at a time of high prices and a deep labor shortage, said Akira Nidaira, executive director of Rengo's Department of General Planning.

The results were aggregated from 5,272 unions as of Monday, with the average monthly wage rising by 4,556 yen from a year earlier. A total of 3,186 unions said they raised the base pay, at an average of 5,983 yen.

© Kyodo News