NAGUMO Speaks! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary
Standards of the Increase of 2010 Regional Minimum Wage Are Settled
05 August 2010
The subcommittee of the Central Minimum Wage Deliberation Council which deliberates to set standards of the increase of the minimum wage to be referred to the regions (Chairperson: Professor Koichiro IMANO, Economic Faculty, Gakushuin University) settled the raise of the standards of the 2010 regional minimum wage on August 4 and is to report its results to the meeting of the Central Minimum Wage Deliberation Council to be held on August 6 for final approval. Standard amount to be raised was set at 10 yen per hour in every rank of A, B, C and D prefectures which are regionally ranked according to the economic situation. Workers' side argued that in the prefectures where the level of minimum wage is lower than that of livelihood protection, such a gap should be settled as early as possible, but the settlement has been in fact extended by one year in six prefectures where the gaps are recognized to be vast. As a result, the weighted average of the raise for the workers covered by minimum wage has become 15 yen. The result is not satisfactory when it is considered on the base of the increase of low income groups, severe situation of real life of the people and the agreement made at the dialogue on employment strategy which is set by the goverment.
While the economic trend was recovering rapidly from global simultaneous economic recession after the Lehman shock even though local economy still remained stagnant and consumption was hanging low, we could not succeed in attaining 800 yen in three years in those prefectures in D rank so that the levels in C rank and D rank could be jacked up in an early stage. Nor could we succeed in settling right away the gap between the levels of minimum wage and livelihood protection. However, in the midst of huge discrepancies of the economic and employment situation in the regions, it is significant that two- digit raise could be attained in D rank for the first time since 2002 when only hourly amount came to be set.
In the agreement of the dialogue on employment strategy were presupposed 3 % nominal economic growth and 2 % real economic growth. In addition, it also assumed supporting measures for small and medium- sized enterprises and productivity improvement of them, but due to the reason that any of these achievements have not yet been made, employers' side argued that the agreement should be started from next year and they strongly opposed to the increase of this year. Workers' side, on the other hand, replied that it is needed to make this year a starting year to put a process for achieving 800 yen at minimum all over Japan, and asserted that the raise of minimum wage, implementation of supporting measures for small and medium sized enterprises and the economic growth measure should be promoted simultaneously in parallel. It is difficult to say that the report of this time has put a process for achieving "800 yen at an earliest possible time and 1,000 yen in average by 2020 at latest" as agreed in the dialogue on employment strategy, but it can be acceptable as a sure step forward.
RENGO will continue to aim at raising minimum wage to a livable level and, in order to materialize the agreement of the dialogue on employment strategy and to settle the gap between minimum wage and the livelihood protection, it will strengthen its activities for aiming at the raise of minimum wage which put importance upon its level as well as at a radical change of minimum wage system.