春闘回答 景気と賃金の悪循環を断とう

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 19, 2012)
Vicious cycle of low pay, business slump must end
春闘回答 景気と賃金の悪循環を断とう(3月18日付・読売社説)

The outcome of this year's spring labor offensive, known as "shunto," has been bleak, with major companies in such key industrial sectors as automobiles and electronics not offering any pay increases. Offers regarding biannual bonuses have also been harsh, falling below last year's levels at most companies.
 今年の春闘は、自動車や電機など主要企業が賃上げを見送り、一時金も軒並み前年割れという厳しい結果となった。

Because of the historic appreciation of the yen and the deterioration of economic conditions overseas, the business performance of the nation's companies has been stagnant.
 歴史的な円高と海外経済の悪化で、企業業績は低迷している。

Under the circumstances, many major trade unions had to abandon the idea of demanding a uniform pay scale increase, a base pay raise referred to as "base-up" in Japanese, to prioritize job security instead.
このため、主要労組の多くが賃金改善を図るベースアップを要求せず、雇用確保を優先せざるを得なかった。

Curbs on wage hikes meant to keep companies in business and workers employed tend to dampen domestic demand, thus further worsening the national economy. This vicious cycle must be brought to an end at all costs.
 だが、会社と雇用を守るために賃金を切りつめた影響で内需が冷え、景気がさらに悪化する。そんな悪循環を断ち切らなければならない。

All businesses have a pile of knotty problems that have been left unresolved in this respect.
企業各社に難しい宿題が残されたと言えよう。

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Pay cuts looming large

In this year's shunto, labor came to the negotiating table intending to achieve regular pay raises based on employees' age and length of employment, known as "teiki shokyu" or "teisho."
 今春闘で労働側は、年齢や勤続年数に応じて賃金を増やす定期昇給の維持だけは譲れないとして、交渉に臨んだ。

The Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), the country's largest employers' organization, expressed caution, saying it was no longer possible to consider implementation of teisho raises as a matter of course.
Most major companies, however, have managed to accept labor demands for the teisho portion of pay raises.
 経団連は「定期昇給の実施を当然視できなくなっている」と、強い危機感を示していたが、大半の大手企業が定昇確保に応じた。

Salaried people in the prime of their lives have seen their living expenses increase year after year, especially for the rearing and education of their children. It is reasonable and proper for management to have paid due attention to such realities.
 働き盛りのサラリーマンは、育児や教育などの出費が毎年増えていく。労働者の実情に、経営側が配慮したことは妥当だろう。

The pay hikes offered by some companies in this year's shunto likely reflect corporate managers' desire to reward, even slightly, their employees' dedicated efforts to rebuild factories struck by the Great East Japan Earthquake and their perseverance in working late at night and early in the morning to save electricity.
 東日本大震災で被災した工場の復旧作業や、節電のための深夜・早朝勤務で無理を重ねた社員に、少しでも報いようとした気持ちもうかがえる。

However, corporate managers are naturally limited in what they can do.
 とはいえ、企業努力には限界がある。

Electronics giant NEC Corp. presented in a meeting with its trade union on Thursday a set of proposals to cut ordinary employees' wages, including a 4 percent cut in monthly salaries for nine months.
電機大手のNECは15日の労使協議で、9か月間の4%賃下げなど、一般社員の給与削減策を提案した。

Another major electronics firm, Sharp Corp., is also said to be considering a freeze on teisho raises for a certain period of time.
シャープも定昇の一時凍結を検討中という。

Although the uptrend in the yen's exchange rate has paused in recent days, the Japanese currency is still too high from the perspective of export industries.
 円相場の急騰は一服したが、輸出企業にとっては依然として厳しい円高水準だ。

The economies of Europe are expected to log negative growth this year, while the swift growth of such emerging economies as China seems to be weakening. The future of overseas demand is increasingly shrouded with uncertainty.
 今年は欧州でマイナス成長が見込まれ、中国など新興国の高成長にも陰りが見える。外需の先行きには不透明感が強い。

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China, ROK formidable rivals

In addition, manufacturers in China and South Korea have become increasingly formidable rivals for their Japanese counterparts, in terms of price competitiveness and product quality. International competition is bound to keep intensifying.
 中国や韓国のメーカーは、価格の安さだけでなく品質面でも強力なライバルになった。国際競争はさらに激しさを増すだろう。

However, positive signs have begun to emerge. The Nikkei Stock Average at the Tokyo Stock Exchange's First Section has climbed back above 10,000, spurred by such factors as improvement in the U.S. economy.
 一方、明るい材料も出てきた。米国景気の好転などを背景に、東京市場の平均株価は、1万円の大台を回復した。

Major Japanese companies are recovering from the serious blow dealt by the March 11 disaster and are expected to post higher profits in fiscal 2012, compared to huge drops in revenues for this fiscal year that ends on March 31.
 大震災の打撃を克服し、主要企業の業績は、今年度の大幅減益から、来年度は増益に転じる見込みだ。

We strongly hope they will have the momentum for a come-from-behind surge in business activity.
反転攻勢に弾みをつけることが期待される。

It is critically important for businesses to carve out private-sector fields with high growth potential to ensure greater corporate profitability. Now is a good time to create new demand on the strength of recovery projects from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster, such as new energy-saving businesses and transportation systems.
 何よりも、民間の創意工夫で成長分野を開拓し、企業の収益力を高めることが大切だ。震災復興は省エネや新交通など、新規需要を発掘する好機でもある。

The government, for its part, must flexibly support corporate endeavors, through such means as low-interest loans as part of industrial policy and tax breaks on capital investments.
 政府は、低利の政策融資や投資減税などで、企業の努力に機動的な支援をしてもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 18, 2012)
(2012年3月18日01時40分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2012-03-21 05:13 | 英字新聞

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