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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 17 - 23  > Thanks to union efforts, fixed-term staff at JAL affiliate win open-ended employment contracts
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2018 January 17 - 23 [LABOR]

Thanks to union efforts, fixed-term staff at JAL affiliate win open-ended employment contracts

January 17, 2018

An affiliate of Japan Airlines which provides airport ground handling will end the existing policy of terminating contracts of fixed-term employees after five years, Akahata learned on January 16.

JAL Ground Service Co., Ltd. (JGS) says it will offer open-ended employment contracts to all fixed-term contract workers with five years of service in April. Efforts made by the JGS union, a Japan Federation of Aviation Workers' Union (Kokuren) member, brought about this outcome.

Out of 400 JGS contract staff working at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) and Narita International Airport, 131 who have been worked for more than five years will be eligible to benefit, thanks to the union activities.

The JGS is responsible for wide-ranging ground handling services, including loading and unloading baggage/cargo, aircraft guiding, cabin cleanup, and boarding support for passengers with disabilities.

In order for safe and smooth takeoffs and landings of aircraft, experience and teamwork are necessary. However, the JAL-affiliated company in April 2013 decided to not renew the contracts of fixed-term employees who have worked for the company for more than five years.

One year before that decision, the Labor Contracts Act was amended requiring employers to offer indefinite contracts to non-regular workers on fixed-term contracts who have more than five years of employment. The decision to implement contract termination was obviously to evade this legal obligation.

The JGS union in collective bargaining talks demanded that the company withdraw the decision and employ non-regular workers without limit on the length of contract terms. The union also produced leaflets explaining this issue and which increased in-company understanding of the issue.

As a result of these efforts, the union succeeded in achieving the victory during a collective bargaining session late last year.

Ando Yuji, secretary general of the JGS Tokyo union said, "Upon hearing the news of large corporations' action of circumventing the revised labor law, many contingent workers voiced anxiety about their situation," adding, "Our union will also seek to help improve the working conditions of contract staff after they become infinite-term workers and to have the company hire them as its full-time regular workers."

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