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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 March 12 - 18  > Flight attendants fight for their freedom of speech
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2008 March 12 - 18 [LABOR]
column 

Flight attendants fight for their freedom of speech

March 18, 2008
Akahata ‘Current’ column

Traveling by air can be likened to enjoying freedom, but cabin attendants who are essential to safe air travel are unable to speak freely. Japan Airlines (JAL) and its company union JALFIO have collected personal information on 9,000 JAL flight attendants.

Calling for the facts to be established and for measures to be taken to prevent the recurrence of such practices, 194 cabin attendants have filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court. But soon after the court hearing began, the company said it is willing to pay money to the plaintiffs without acknowledging the fact of its privacy violation, apparently in an attempt to close the case. The union is also trying to evade the issue by asserting that “the leakage of personal information was due to some workers’ inappropriate act.”

The company and union collected 158 items of information on each flight attendant, including details of their job performance, personnel evaluation, appearance, family members, as well as history of pregnancy or miscarriage. Plaintiffs claim that the monitoring of workers both at and away from workplaces “denies their right to privacy”.

The plaintiffs have brought to court JAL’s illegal human rights violation in order to defend their freedom of speech and maintain the viability of their teamwork to help ensure safe flights. Their struggle will ensure safe air travel enjoying freedom in the sky.
- Akahata, March 18, 2008
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