Hi Blog. Here’s something that didn’t make the English-language news anywhere, as far as Google searches show. Japanese stewardesses are suing Turkish Airlines for unfair treatment and arbitrary termination of contract. They were also, according to some news reports I saw on Google and TV, angry at other working conditions they felt were substandard, such as lack of changing rooms. I even saw the headline “discrimination by nationality”. So they formed a union to negotiate with the airline, and then found themselves fired.
Fine. But this is definite Shoe on the Other Foot stuff, especially given the conditions that NJ frequently face in the Japanese workplace. Let’s hope this spirit of media understanding rubs off for NJ who might want to sue Japanese companies for the same sort of thing. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
(Text of article below follows, quickly translated by Arudou Debito)
Dispatch stewardesses sue Turkish Airlines, demand acknowledgment of their status within the company
Sankei Shinbun January 29, 2009
PHOTO CAPTION: “We want to be directly employed.” So charged Funada Akiko (R), member of the Turkish Airlines Union at a press conference at the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare.
On January 29, 13 Japanese women contract workers under dispatch company “TEI” (Tokyo), who were working as flight attendants for Turkish Airlines, filed suit at Tokyo District Court. “We were effectively working under the same conditions as if we were directly employed by the airline,” they said, and demanded recognition of this status in their contracts from both companies.
The litigants were members of the “Turkish Airlines Union”, led by Funada Akiko (34).
According to the lawsuit filed, the women were dispatched from TEI. Nevertheless, they were treated as if they were workers under a contract with Turkish Airlines. They were given essential training as flight attendants from Turkish Airlines, and had employment time slots as per Turkish Airlines flight plans. Each fulfilled their duties as a Japanese flight attendant, supervised by the airline.
At the press conference after filing suit, Ms Funada claimed that TEI would issue a notice dated February 28 that Japanese flight attendant contracts would be terminated. “The contract period would last until June. We are furious at how one-sided this termination of contract was. We want to be employed directly as Japanese flight attendants.”
She continued, “There was an invisible division between us and the Turkish flight attendants, in terms of differential treatment and salary. We want to highlight this as a social problem, so that there won’t be any more second- and third-class treatment of staff in the airline industry.”
In September 2008, the 13 Japanese flight attendants formed a union of supporters. They filed for group negotiations with Turkish Airlines to demand direct employment. However, the airlines still apparently refuses to meet.
A 33-year-old woman who attended the press conference spoke strongly, “If there are no Japanese flight attendants in the airplane, what happens if there’s an emergency? How will Japanese passengers be attended to?”
The Japan branch of Turkish Airlines said in a statement, “We haven’t seen the legal brief yet, so we cannot comment at this time.” TEI: “We haven’t received the brief, so we will reserve official comments for now.” ENDS
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