Vol.31-No.06 June 1,1992
Shunto Interim Reports
According to interim reports on wage increases in this year's shunto, compiled separately by Rengo (Japanese Confederation of Trade Unions) and Nikkeiren (Japan Federation of Employers' Associations), labor settled for a weighted average 4.06 percent, or 13,081 Yen wage hike (as of April 24), down 0.69 percent, or 1,289 Yen, from the year before. Nikkeiren, on the other hand, said that management provided a weighted average pay raise of 4.92 percent, or 13,347 Yen, down 0.68 percent point, or 1,282 Yen from a year earlier. While Rengo's survey covered 1,146, or 80.6 percent of the unions, Nikkeiren's covered 291, or 80 percent of the 327 major firms. By industry, labor unions, including JC, in the metal sector accepted a weighted average wage increase of 4.71 percent, or 12,036 Yen; those in the resources and energy sector, such as electric power and gas, accepted 4.95 percent, or 14,150 yen; and those in the chemicals sector settled for a weighted average 5.02 percent, or 13,482 Yen wage hike. What is more, labor in the tertiary sector, including commerce and hotels fared conspicuously better. Workers in hotel and leisure industries accepted a weighted average pay increase of 6.16 percent, or 16,904 Yen while those in the commerce, finance and insurance industries received 5.83 percent, or 13,649 Yen increase. By type of business, employees at newspaper companies accepted the highest wage raise of 21,384 Yen, followed by 18,691 Yen in oil, 15,990 Yen for private railways and 15,004 Yen for commerce and distribution. Workers in the commerce and distribution sectors won the highest wage increase rate of percent, followed by 5.82 percent for hotels and 5.66 percent for newspapers.
A survey of smaller companies with fewer than 500 employees, conducted concurrently with the above survey, found 262, or 35 percent of the firms reached agreement with their unions. Of these 252 firms, or all these excluding the 10 which failed to report a weighted average wage hike, offered a weighted average pay increase of 11,462, yen or 4.82 percent, down 1,314 Yen, or 0.71 percent from the previous year. The Rengo survey, on the other hand, showed that workers at smaller companies with 300-999 workers won a 5.05 percent wage increase, while those at firms with 299 or fewer employees accepted a 5.10 percent wage hike, thus keeping above the percent average.
80,000 Nurses Go on Strike
Amidst ever-aggravating working conditions resulting from a severe shortage, nurses belonging to Iroren (Japan Federation of Medical Workers' Unions, 155,000 members) went on strike across the country on April 3 to press their demands for average monthly wage increases of over 40,000 Yen and a large increase in the number of nurses. About 80,000 nurses working at 748 hospitals and clinics throughout the nation participated in the strike, a demonstration and a rally while on duty. In total, these lasted 8 hours at longest. However, medical consultation for outpatients, receptions and inspection services were not affected. The chronic shortage of nurses forces 5.5 percent to work night shifts more than 9 times a month and some hospitals must close down wards or reduce the number of beds, Iroren says. What is more, the number of those nurses who worked at national hospitals and who died from overwork has been rising in the past 10 years.
In this year's shunto, Iroren member unions asked the Ministry of Health and Welfare and hospitals that the number of nurses be increased, that the average monthly pay be raised by more than 40,000 Yen and that the number of night shifts be reduced to less than 6 days a month. On April 14, Iroren unions again walked off their jobs nationwide, expressing dissatisfaction with a wage offer. Some 836 hospitals and clinics were affected by the strikes and the rallies, attended by about 100,000 nurses, lasting from 30 minutes to 4 hours.
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