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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 July 5 - 11  > Wage hike essential for taxi industry to survive
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2017 July 5 - 11 [LABOR]

Wage hike essential for taxi industry to survive

July 7, 2017
The average annual income for taxi drivers in 2016 was 2.88 million yen, more than two million yen less than the national average for workers in all industries, according to the All Japan Automobile Transport Workers’ Union (Jiko-soren) represeting taxi and sightseeing bus drivers.

Based on government data, Jiko-soren has found out that taxi workers in 16 prefectures earned no more than 1,000 yen an hour, and that the annual income of taxi/bus drivers in 30 prefectures amounts to lower than the public assistance standards. These figures indicate that many drivers cannot adequately support their families on their salaries.

More and more young/mid-level workers give up their careers as taxi drivers due to low wages, leading to an increase in the average age to 60.1 years old last year, up 12.7 years in age from 1990.

Jiko-soren Secretary General Kikuchi Kazuhiko said, “Most taxi drivers work on commission. So a decrease in business earnings automatically reduces drivers’ wages. Accordingly, employers do not need to take into account labor costs. Thus, many taxi company operators do not even bother to review their management practices.”

Compared to the year 2000 when the taxi industry’s regulations were greatly relaxed, business income for the industry and per driver in 2014 went down by 26% and 13%, respectively. By lowering workers’ wages, many employers avoid going into red. Some companies even increased the number of taxis despite facing a decline in operating revenues.

Jiko-soren stresses the need to raise the rate of regional minimum wages. Kikuchi stated, “Higher wages can entice young people to continue to work for taxi companies, and this is the solution for the industry to survive.”

Kikuchi added, “Raising minimum wages will press employers to seriously think about their management efficiency and about productivity. In order to ensure a decent livelihood for taxi drivers, a drastic increase in minimum wages is essential.”
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