Retired bus drivers in Okinawa unionized to get retirement allowance

Fifty-two retired bus drivers organized a union on November 6 to struggle for a lump sum of their retirement allowance to be paid.

They are part of 294 former employees of Naha Kotsu Company, Okinawa's major bus company.

About 2.32 billion yen has been due since 1997 when the management broke the agreement and paid only 50,000 yen to each retiree on New Year's Day.

At their retirement, the company told them to sign an agreement stating that their retirement allowance would be paid in five-year installments and its first payment would be one year after they left their jobs.

Retirees have pushed the management into accepting its obligation to pay their retirement allowance. But the management has failed to specify the exact date of payment, and the angry retirees decided to form a union to jointly struggle against the fraudulent company.

Tomita Seikichi, who was elected union chair, said that the Naha Kotsu management is cruel because it has ruined the retirees' lives, acting against its own promise. He called on union members to struggle to get a lump sum payment of retirement allowance as early as possible. (end)