Work and Pay in the United States and Japan

By Clair Brown; Yoshifumi Nakata et al. | Go to book overview

6
National Wage Determination in Japan

Shunto as a Union Bargaining Instrument

Although Shunto has come to be regarded as an outstanding example of social contract policy ( Taira and Levine, 1985), it was originally designed to increase union bargaining power in order to raise Japanese wages to European levels and to end "discriminatory" wage inequalities resulting from wage setting at the company level ( Takanashi et al., 1989, pp. 5, 6). Shunto has operated not through centralized bargaining but through an annual synchronized process of pattern setting and pattern following.

Under Shunto, formal collective bargaining remains confined to the individual companies and their respective enterprise-based unions, but it has been relegated to the end of a lengthy and pervasive process of consensus building (typically extending from autumn through early spring). The process begins with negotiations within a group of key industries that set the pattern for wage increases in the year ahead. Pattern setting has come to be strongly influenced by current economic analyses, which are supplied by the central federations of unions 1 and employers (Nikkeiren), government (notably, the Economic Planning Agency), and private sources, which are extensively discussed in the news media. Information is transmitted through industry and regional and local affiliates of the central federations on both sides. The national unions, or tan-sans, meet regularly, not only with the "central struggle committee" and the "strategy committee" of the union confederation but also with employer associations in their respective industries and with

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Work and Pay in the United States and Japan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - Comparing Employment Systems 3
  • Note 20
  • 2 - Security 21
  • Notes 61
  • 3 - Employee Involvement and Training 67
  • Introduction 67
  • Summary: Employee Involvement and Training in the Set Model 94
  • Notes 95
  • 4 - Pay Systems, Career Paths, and Earnings Inequality 97
  • Introduction 97
  • Summary and Major Findings 130
  • Appendix: Calculation of Standard Career Paths 132
  • Appendix: Calculation of Standard Career Paths 134
  • 5 - Employers and Unions 137
  • Notes 156
  • 6 - National Wage Determination in Japan 158
  • Summary 189
  • Notes 190
  • 7 - Conclusion 191
  • References 209
  • Index 227
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