Workers at Japanese auto makers are asking for a bigger share of the companies’ projected JPY4 trillion ($33.6 billion) in annual profit, via a raise for the next fiscal year. The workers, represented by 11 unions, plans to demand a JPY6,000 ($50) monthly raise for the fiscal year starting April 1, according to the Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers’ Unions, which has around 766,000 members at parts suppliers, dealers and the carmakers.
Even Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has urged companies to increase wages to help the country sustain its ongoing recovery. While pay surged in 2014, it failed to boost spending due to a sales-tax increase, carmakers were able to earn more thanks to the weakening yen.
The JPY6,000 surge in in monthly base wages that the Toyota Motor Workers’ Union recently proposed was equal to a raise of around 1.7 percent for its 63,000 workers. Toyota is expected to answer the proposal on March 18.
“To judge whether the level of wage demands is enough to support a healthy economic cycle, we will have to look at the actual results,” according to confederation president Yasunobu Aihara.
Toyota Motors along expects to post a record profit of JPY2.13 trillion this fiscal year – which is more than the combined forecast of the country’s 10 other car and truck makers, as well as that of Yamaha Motor Co. (JPY1.9 trillion).
Record earnings are also expected from Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., Mazda Motor Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Suzuki Motor Corp. for the current fiscal year.