Toshiba, Sharp unions OK’d to drop out of ‘shunto’ wage talks

The Japanese Electrical Electronic & Information Union (JEIU) on Monday allowed the labor unions of troubled Toshiba Corp. and Sharp Corp. to pull out of the industry’s annual wage talks due to weak earnings.

Although the umbrella body of electronics unions will this spring request across-the-board monthly pay hikes of at least ¥3,000, it is thought that the two companies would be unable to oblige: Toshiba is in a slump following a major accounting scandal, and Sharp remains in long-term intensive care.

The union at Toshiba will pull out of the unified wage negotiations for the first time ever, but it will be the fourth straight year for Sharp’s union to do so.

JEIU member unions are required to fight for a unified goal in the annual shunto spring wage negotiations led by such major firms as Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

Toshiba’s union has been among the negotiation leaders in the past.

Shoji Arino, head of the JEIU, said the withdrawals of the Toshiba and Sharp unions from the shunto offensive are regrettable, but he also said that what is important is for the companies to make quick turnarounds.

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