JAL workers to sue over dismissals
A group of more than 100 pilots and flight attendants of Japan Airlines Corp. will sue their employer next month demanding that their dismissals be nullified.
Their unions are organizing the action as the carrier under rehabilitation announced Tuesday it will dismiss about 170 workers in the two job categories on Friday.
JAL has given advance notices of termination to about 200 workers, of whom only 30 agreed to voluntarily retire.
The airline said it will let go about 80 pilots and 60 flight attendants as well as 30 others who are currently on leave as part of JAL's efforts to restructure itself.
"It's a measure to optimize the work force to meet our curtailed operations. It was a gut-wrenching decision," JAL President Masaru Onishi told a news conference.
As part of its court-managed rehabilitation, the JAL group is set to dismiss 16,000 workers by the end of March.
The carrier sought voluntary retirement of 1,500 workers, but failed to reach the targets for pilots and crew members. It began a dismissal procedure on Dec. 9.
JAL's Cabin Crew Union (CCU) and the JAL Flight Crew Union, to which most workers facing the ax belong, have argued that the dismissals are invalid.
They said the number of those who accepted voluntary retirement, including those on leave, has already surpassed the reduction target in the JAL group. They also said the company unfairly targeted employees based on age and history of illness.
The unions say most of those to be dismissed will eventually join the group suit, which will be filed with the Tokyo District Court in mid-January.
"We have distrust in the management that went ahead with dismissals without fulfilling all the requirements," CCU leader Taeko Uchida said. "But we still think there are ways to avoid (dismissals) through a management decision. Labor-management negotiations should continue."