Japan's workers win biggest average wage hike in 33 years

A survey by Japan's largest labor organization has found that workers received the highest average pay hike in 33 years at this spring's wage negotiations.

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo, conducted the survey covering more than 5,200 companies.

It found that labor unions won an average monthly pay raise of 15,281 yen, or about 95 dollars. That's an increase of 5.1 percent in yen terms. The last time the figure topped 5 percent was 1991. The increase includes seniority-based raises, as well as base-pay hikes.

The average raise at small and medium-size businesses with fewer than 300 employees was 4.45 percent. That's the highest since 1992, but still lower than that of major businesses with 1,000 workers or more.

One Rengo official says wages are trending in the right direction, but more needs to be done to help working families.

"Fewer people believe this year's wage hikes have improved their lives," Nidaira Akira told reporters on Wednesday. "We think it's important to maintain the trend of wage hikes."

Nidaira added that Rengo will work to create conditions that make it easier for smaller businesses to offer pay raises.