KOGA Says! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary
Revision of the Minimum Wage Law Enacted
28 November 2007
RENGO’s Statement by General Secretary Koga
On November 28, 2007, the Bill to revise the Minimum Wage Law was passed in the House of Councilors (the Upper House) and was consequently enacted. Maintaining existing framework of the minimum wage system, the revision specified concerning the regional minimum wage that it should be set in every region and that it should be set in consideration of adjustment with the livelihood protection benefits. The revision also stipulated that as regards to the dispatched workers, the minimum wage in the region of the receiving enterprise should be applied to them. While the existing industrial level minimum wage will be succeeded in the form of Specific Minimum Wage, the regional minimum wage based on collective agreement has come to be abolished consequently.
In the course of the deliberation in the Diet, the revised Bill presented to the 166th Ordinary Session of the Diet in December 2006 on the basis of a report submitted by the Labor Policy Deliberation Council, was amended after consultations between the Democratic Party of Japan and the ruling parties during the current Extraordinary Session of the Diet and came to be passed and approved. During the time, JTUC-RENGO had wrestled with it aiming at its early adoption in the Diet placing it as one of the most important bills for the purpose of correcting disparities.
The main points of the discussion in the Diet were how to set the regional minimum wage which is fit if the workers live at least a minimum life, which JTUC-RENGO had been demanding, as well as how to secure an adjustment with the livelihood protection benefits. As regards to the regional minimum wage, after amending Article 9 of the revised Bill, a provision was added which reads “so that the workers can lead a healthy and cultural minimum life.” However, viewing from the point of securing the effectiveness which JTUC-RENGO has long been demanding, the contents are insufficient. On the other, a certain advance is made from the points that the penalty against those who do not pay regional minimum wage is strengthened, that the minimum wage of the region of the receiving enterprise is applied to the dispatched workers, and that the minimum level of wage is secured further strengthening safety network.
The future management of the minimum wages is entrusted to the Deliberation Councils concerned, but an earliest handling should be sought in view of the fact that it was agreed at the Round-Table Conference for Promotion of Strategy for Raising Bottom of Growth Capacity on July 9, 2007, that “an arrangement will be made possibly within this year which will deal with improvement of productivity of small and medium-sized enterprises and middle- and/or long-term raises of the minimum wages.” In a situation in which low income groups including part-time workers are increasing, resulting in widening disparities in income, the importance of the minimum wage system is enhancing. JTUC-RENGO will continue to strengthen its campaigns on the basis of the objectives of the revision of the Minimum Wage Law and the agreement reached in the Round-Table Conference. At the same time, JTUC-RENGO will also develop a campaign to call for the wide understanding of those member unions so that they can conclude agreements on minimum wages within their enterprises which will link to legally set minimum wage.