Panasonic agrees to base pay rises bigger than last year

TOKYO (Reuters) - Panasonic Corp said on Wednesday it has agreed to increase the base salary for its employees by 3,000 yen a month, higher than last year's 2,000 yen hike, following annual wage negotiations with the electronics maker's labor union. Many Japanese firms are due to announce the results of their wage talks on Wednesday. Higher wages are considered key to sustaining growth and decisively ending deflation in the world's No.3 economy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has been urging Japanese companies - which are sitting on record levels of cash amid hefty profits - to do their part and lift workers' pay. But real, inflation-adjusted wages fell 2.5 percent in 2014, with households squeezed by higher consumers prices and an increase in the national sales tax rate. (Reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida; Writing by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)