On the annual salary recommendation for 2010
Statement by ODAGAWA Yoshikazu, Secretary General of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
August 10, 2010
The National Personnel Authority today made recommendation on salary levels for government employees for fiscal 2010. The recommendation includes a 0.19 percent cut in monthly salary. It also calls for bonus payments (usually equivalent to 4.15 months' salary) to be reduced by 0.2 months. If this recommendation is implemented, government workers' annual income will be reduced by 94,000 yen or 1.5 percent. This recommendation will affect local government employees as well as private sector workers, whose wage levels are set based on NPA recommendation. Many are concerned that the NPA recommendation will further discourage people from spending money. The recommendation also calls for a cut in basic pay for employees aged 55 and older under the pretext of following the private sector practice, which constitutes an adverse change in working conditions against workers. It is outrageous that the NPA made this recommendation in defiance of strong opposition raised by unions.
In the 2000s, the NPA has repeatedly recommended adverse changes in working conditions, including wage cuts. Even though the issue is subject to NPA recommendation, it should come under negotiation or consultation. The NPA has always insisted on its right to recommend instead of holding talks with labor by making public necessary documents to share recognition with labor. The recommendation of a wage cut for employees aged 55 and over shows the height of the authoritarianism of the NPA. The fact that NPA recommendations have been made always in disregard of the workers' opinion reveals the fatigue of the recommendation system and its limits. This is why we insist that an early restoration of the fundamental labor rights to public service employees is a matter of urgency.
In its recommendation this year, the NPA also took up the issue of public service employees in general. Concerning the so-called reform of the public service system, which is being considered by the government, it referred in detail to the issues of labor rights, employment, and personnel training. In particular, regarding labor relations based on public service workersf independent will, the key part of the fundamental labor rights, the NPA presented its viewpoints and called for the matter to be considered by winning public understanding.
The issue of the fundamental labor rights has been discussed within the government to a considerable degree. Some of the cabinet members are positive about restoring them to public service employees. Nevertheless, at this stage, the NPA has expressed what can be described as a call for cautious consideration. We cannot but feel out of place.
We demand that the NPA, which is responsible for the recommendation system in the absence of the fundamental labor rights, support the fundamental labor rights for public service workers and make efforts to establish a labor-management relationship based on workersf independence will.
The NPA recommendation also put forward an outline of a system of retirement at 65. It says it will come up with its opinion by the end of this year. Given the fact that this is an important issue of working conditions bearing on termination of employment, we request the NPA to agree to discuss it with concerned unions.
It also referred to the need to improve non-regular full-time employees and put into practice the gfixed-term staff systemh from October. In this connection, it referred to giving non-regular full-time workers a right to use the child care leave system and the family care leave system. We welcome this direction of improving these systems and demand the establishment of a system based on the principle of equal treatment, including wages.
The recommendations concerning wages are unacceptable to the affected workers. We will increase our struggle to finalize the wage levels in autumn and beef up our support for the struggle against downward spiral of wages, a struggle reject all those adverse revisions of the wage system.