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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 October 1 - 7  > Pilots say deregulation compromises airline safety and working conditions
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2008 October 1 - 7 [LABOR]

Pilots say deregulation compromises airline safety and working conditions

October 5, 2008
The Airline Pilots’ Association of Japan held a meeting on October 4 in Tokyo to discuss issues relating to transport safety, pilots’ working conditions, and criteria for recognition of diseases as work-related in the airline industry, which is further easing regulations.

A pilot revealed their harsh working conditions due to the adversely revised work schedules that include excessively long shifts and the increase in consecutive shifts. He pointed out that these worsening working conditions can be seen against a background of cost-cutting deregulation aimed at increasing competitiveness at the cost of safety.

Yonekura Tsutomu, a lawyer who is assisting in a lawsuit demanding that All Nippon Airways (ANA) recognize a captain’s death from brain disorder as work-related, pointed out that although the captain showed signs of brain disorder, ANA failed to replace him with another pilot.

The captain in 2000 became unconscious due to brain disorder while he was on duty and was confirmed dead at the hospital.

In 2004, his family filed a lawsuit demanding that his death be recognized as work-related after the Tokyo Labor Bureau dismissed the worker compensation claim. The family lost the case in 2006 and appealed to a high court.

Yonekura said the district court rejected the compensation insurance claim without examining the key facts, including excessive stress resulting from heavy workloads and the ANA’s outdated standards for work schedules as well as the adverse revision of working hours.

During the discussion by pilots, researchers, and lawyers, a researcher spoke about an effort in EU countries to relieve fatigue. Speakers emphasized the importance of organized efforts to force the airline industry to put safety first.
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