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2013年2月 1日 (金)

春闘スタート 景気回復へ問われる労使協調

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 1, 2013)
Business, labor groups should cooperate for economic recovery
春闘スタート 景気回復へ問われる労使協調(1月31日付・読売社説)

This year's shunto spring wage negotiations have just began, as the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to revitalize the nation's economy and pull Japan out of deflation. Leaders of business and labor groups surely will have a fierce tug-of-war over wage hikes.
 安倍政権が日本経済の再生とデフレ脱却を目指す中、今年の春闘がスタートした。賃上げを巡る労使の攻防は一段と白熱するだろう。

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) insists that overall salaries must be raised by 1 percent--in addition to a seniority-based regular wage increase--saying salary hikes are necessary to boost personal spending and ultimately pull the nation out of deflation.
 連合は「個人消費の拡大には賃上げが必要だ。それがデフレ脱却につながる」として、定期昇給とは別に、給与総額の1%引き上げを要求した。

Wage levels have been falling for more than a decade--a factor cited by Rengo as discouraging consumers from spending money and causing the nation to suffer a sluggish economy and deflation.
 賃金水準は10年以上も低落が続いている。これが消費意欲を冷え込ませ、景気低迷とデフレをもたらす要因と主張している。

The Japanese Business Federation (Keidanren) counters such arguments by saying top priority should be placed on securing employment and therefore there is no room for a pay-scale increase.
 これに対し、経団連は「雇用確保が最優先。ベースアップを実施する余地はない」と反論する。

There are large differences between opinions of the labor and management sides.
労使の主張の隔たりは大きい。

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An indication from Abe

A major focus of attention is how much this year's spring wage negotiations will reflect Abe's policy to put top priority on pulling Japan out of deflation.
 今後、注目されるのは、デフレ脱却を最重視する安倍首相の方針が交渉にどう反映されるかだ。

"We aim to help companies become more profitable so as to expand employment and increase wages," Abe said during a press conference earlier this month at which he announced an emergency economic package. "We'd like to seek cooperation from company executives."
 首相は緊急経済対策を発表した今月の記者会見で「企業の収益を向上させ、雇用や賃金の拡大につなげたい。企業の経営者にも協力をいただきたい」と述べた。

The prime minister has also announced a measure to reduce corporate taxes on companies that raise wages.
 賃上げした企業には、法人税を軽減する措置も打ち出した。

As the government and the Bank of Japan have set a 2 percent inflation target, Abe apparently does not want to see "bad inflation," under which only prices rise while wages do not.
 政府と日銀は2%のインフレ目標を決めただけに、賃金が上がらずに物価だけが上昇する「悪い物価上昇」を避けたいと首相は考えているのだろう。

Such strong signals from the prime minister may put some wind in the labor unions' sails. However, it is not clear whether they can achieve wage increases.
 首相の“援軍”は労働側には追い風だが、賃上げが実現するかどうかは不透明である。

The most important thing is to help companies improve their productivity so they become strong enough to increase salaries.
 何よりも重要なのは、企業の生産性を向上させ、賃上げできるよう経営体力を強化することだ。

The nation's businesses have been fighting an uphill battle mainly due to the prolonged sluggishness of the economy and fierce competition with overseas manufacturers. Quite a few companies also remain overstaffed.
 長引く不況や海外メーカーとの競争など、産業界には逆風が吹く。依然として余剰人員を抱える企業は少なくない。

The hyperappreciation of the yen is being rectified, while stock prices are rising. These are among the positive signs since December's general election brought a change of government from the Democratic Party of Japan to Abe's Liberal Democratic Party.
 政権交代後、超円高の是正が進み、株価が上昇するなど明るい材料も見え始めた。

Nonetheless, different companies perform differently even in the same industry. One approach would be for companies that are doing relatively well to be the first to increase salaries.
ただ、同じ業種でも企業によって業績は異なる。体力のある企業から賃上げを実施するのも一つの方策だろう。

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Older and nonregular workers

Another major issue in this year's spring wage negotiations is retaining workers until the age of 65.
 65歳までの再雇用も、今年の春闘の大きなテーマだ。

From April, companies will be obliged to retain workers until that age if they want to work beyond the current retirement age of 60. Keidanren has expressed its view that companies will suffer a huge burden of increased labor costs due to the measure.
 4月から希望者全員の再雇用が企業に義務付けられる。経団連は「人件費の増大が企業の大きな負担になる」との見方を示している。

We hope the labor and management sides will hold deeper negotiations on the issue to make the system work well for both sides.
労使双方に望ましい制度とするため、議論を深めてもらいたい。

Another important issue is improving the working conditions of nonregular workers, who account for 35 percent of the workforce.
 働き手の35%を占める非正規労働者の待遇改善も重要課題だ。

Increases in the number of nonregular workers--who get lower salaries and suffer unstable employment compared to their full-time counterparts--have also triggered sluggish consumer spending.
 正社員に比べて低賃金で雇用が不安定な非正規労働者の増大は、消費低迷の要因でもある。

Regarding nonregular workers, Rengo has called for introducing a system to change their status to full-time workers and creating clear rules on how they may enjoy pay hikes. Correcting gaps in working conditions between the two groups will surely encourage workers in general to spend more money.
 連合は非正規労働者について、正社員への転換制度の導入や昇給ルールの明確化を求めている。正社員との格差是正は、労働者全体の消費拡大にもつながろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 31, 2013)
(2013年1月31日01時39分  読売新聞)

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