The Abe administration has declared ‘equal work for equal pay’ a high priority in its policy agenda. To this end, the administration has been putting forward a ‘guideline’ showing concrete examples of ‘unfair wage disparities’, and specifying conditions under which employers could reasonably offer different pay for regular and non-regular workers. Among those who consider that one should be paid the same regardless of employment contract, trade union movements have been quite active, and especially in the higher education sector in Japan. The General Union of University part-time lecturers have recently received an exceptionally high wage increase as a result of collective bargaining at some renowned private universities. This paper focuses on the current conditions of non-regular workers in Japan, as well as their active workers’ movements in view of ‘equal work for equal pay’ policy which the Abe administration has increasingly promoted.