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(Update) Average Pay Hike Hits 33-Year High of 5.1 Pct in Japan

(Update) Average Pay Hike Hits 33-Year High of 5.1 Pct in Japan

   Tokyo, July 3 (Jiji Press)--Monthly pay increases granted by Japanese companies to labor unions in this year's "shunto" spring wage negotiations averaged 5.10 pct, or 15,281 yen, the highest level since the 5.66 pct marked in 1991, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo, said Wednesday.
   The weighted average rose 1.52 percentage points, or 4,721 yen, from the previous year on the back of soaring prices and labor shortages, according to final shunto results released by Rengo, the umbrella organization of labor unions in the country.
   The combined average of pay scale and regular pay hikes at small and midsize companies with fewer than 300 labor union members came to 4.45 pct, or 11,358 yen. The gap with the average among all companies widened from the previous year.
   Wage growth among companies with 99 union members or fewer averaged 3.98 pct, or 9,626 yen.
   "Small and midsize companies did their best too, but we must strengthen efforts to reflect higher costs in sales prices," Akira Nidaira, a senior policy promotion official at Rengo, told a news conference. "Creating an environment allowing a wage increase of over 5 pct is crucial for the next year."

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