ITF Protests Japan Airlines Job Losses (7/22)

 

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The International Transport Workers’ Federation has issued the following news release, dated July 22, and accompanying photo. The snapshot is from this week’s London visit and shows (from left) Gabriel Mocho, ITF; Rhys McCarthy, Unite (Britain and Ireland’s largest union); Mr. Igarashi, counselor, international transport section, Japanese embassy; and Mr. Matsubara, first secretary, economic section, Japanese embassy.

 

ITF protests JAL job losses

 

The ITF has protested to the Japanese government over the forced dismissals of workers at Japan Airlines (JAL) – even though workforce reduction targets had already been met through voluntary redundancy.

 

ITF and Unite the Union representatives this week visited the Japanese Embassy in London to hand over a resolution passed by ITF aviation unions requiring the Japanese government to intervene to halt the dismissals and ensure that the company abides by national and international law and consults with workers and their unions when considering any such substantial job cuts.

 

Gabriel Mocho, ITF civil aviation secretary, commented: “Despite having met the set personnel reduction targets JAL has gone on to impose swingeing compulsory redundancies – ignoring efforts by unions to discuss ways to reduce labor costs. The ITF and its member unions are supporting our colleagues in Japan who are taking the company to court and to the ILO (International Labor Organization) over this matter.”

 

This was the first in a number of visits to Japanese embassies that will be made by ITF-affiliated unions. The resolution delivered to the Japanese embassy and government reads:

 

Madrid 21, 22 June 2011

Dismissals in Japan

 

ITF affiliated organisations attending the Joint Alliances Unions’ Meeting have been informed by affiliate Japan Airlines Cabin Crew Union (CCU) that their members, together with members of the ITF affiliate Koku Rengo and the Japan Airlines Flight Crew Union (FCU), have been strongly affected by the measures put in place by the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation of Japan (ETIC-J), established by the Tokyo District Court to reduce the number of employees in Japan Airlines (JAL) to 32,600 by the end of March 2011.

 

Despite a series of voluntary schemes, which have already fully achieved the workforce reduction target, the company decided unilaterally that compulsory dismissals were necessary to secure a further 81 flight crew and 84 cabin crew job reductions by 31 December 2010.

 

In the case of cabin attendants, neither the CCU nor JALFIO, the relevant member organisation of Koku Rengo, received any approach from JAL management to negotiate on the workforce reduction. The management rejected negotiations on how dismissal could be avoided through work-sharing and voluntary furlough. Whether or not it was the intention, the net effect of using this procedure was to secure the dismissal of a disproportionate number of workers including part of the leadership of the unions.

 

We believe that within the provisions of Convention 98 on the right to collective bargaining, of Japanese law and of the existing collective bargaining agreements within JAL, the company management should have entered into negotiations in good faith with the representatives of the workers to find an agreed process for reducing the JAL workforce to the level called for by the court.

 

We also believe that, through negotiations with all the unions involved, JAL should have ensured that the employment reductions were achieved through voluntary redundancies and not by compulsory dismissals.

 

In order to deal with the immediate problem of forced dismissals that include union leaders and its effect on freedom of association in Japan, we demand the Japanese Government to intervene urgently to withdraw dismissals and secure negotiations on an agreed basis to complete the workforce reduction.

 

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