Silicon wafer maker plans to raise wages by 6%

Annual wage negotiations got underway in Japan on Monday. Silicon wafer maker Sumco is one employer that's heeding calls to raise pay for its workers. The firm says a pay bump is possible thanks to AI-generated efficiency gains on its production line.

Executives say they plan to give 6,000 employees in Japan an increase in their earnings that averages out at 6 percent.

The company introduced an AI system in its factory in the southwestern prefecture of Saga back in 2018. The tech offers real-time analysis of production equipment data to maintain optimal operation rates.

It also finds the best transportation routes for products...
and improves production processes.

The firm says the result of all this is an annual profit of more than four billion yen, or over 30 million dollars.
Sumco Chairman and CEO Hashimoto Mayuki said that prices have risen sharply, so the company has to do something for its employees. He said it has decided to raise wages to reward their efforts.

Sumco says it's also planning a 10-percent increase in the starting salary for workers who join in April.