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UA ZENSEN Sets Record High Demands for Basic Wages 

Labor union UA ZENSEN has demanded record-level wage increases for union members, with part-time employee demands outstripping those of full-time workers.



Whiteboards display the status of spring wage negotiations by UA ZENSEN-affiliated labor unions, reading "full acceptance." (© Kyodo)

On March 7, the industrial labor union UA ZENSEN issued an official statement on the spring wage negotiation results. As of the morning of March 4, basic wage increases had reached ¥13,509 JPY ($ 89.54) USD) per month per regular union employee. This represents a record-high average increase. 

UA ZENSEN also revealed that 28 unions had reached agreements with their employers as of March 7. In each case, employers fully accepted workers' pay demands. The focus now shifts to whether these developments will impact negotiations in small and medium-sized businesses going forward.

UA ZENSEN Chairman Akihiko Matsuura calls for "ultimately raising wages for small and medium-sized enterprises" on March 14 in Tokyo. (© Sankei by Ryotaro Fukuda)

Part-time Employees Demanding More

As Japan's largest industrial labor union, UA ZENSEN boasts approximately 2,200 affiliated unions comprising approximately 1.85 million members. It covers various industries, including commerce, food, and textiles.

At the time of counting, 467 unions had submitted demands covering full-time workers. Meanwhile, 201 unions had made demands on behalf of part-timers. Both marked the highest level of wage demands since the organization's formation in 2013.

The requested wage increase rate for part-time workers, including regular raises, was 6.96%. That was higher than the 6.18% rate for regular employees. Chairman Akihiko Matsuura remarked, "Businesses are now reevaluating their (part-time workers) needs commensurate with their work.” He commended the progress in closing the wage gap with full-time employees.

The words "Full price" are displayed on a whiteboard displaying the status of spring labor negotiations by UA Zensen member unions on March 7 in Tokyo. (© Sankei by Ryotaro Fukuda)

Aeon Group Sets the Standard

Of the 28 unions, 25 had reached agreements at the time of aggregation. Results for these 25 unions showed a basic wage increase for full-time workers of ¥15,640 ($103.66). Including regular raises, the total increase was ¥20,258 ($134.27), reflecting a wage increase rate of 6.70%. Part-time employees saw their hourly wages rise by ¥77.3 ($.51 per hour), amounting to a wage increase of 7.03%.

Twenty-four of these unions are AEON Group company unions.  A UA ZENSEN executive commented that "[AEON] is driving the creation of a market [for high-wage settlements]."


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Ryotaro Fukuda


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