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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 January 12 - 18  > Ex-KLM Japanese CAs win nullification of their dismissals
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2022 January 12 - 18 [LABOR]

Ex-KLM Japanese CAs win nullification of their dismissals

January 18, 2022

The Tokyo District Court on January 17 issued a ruling nullifying the dismissal of three Japanese female cabin attendants by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and recognized that the three are entitled to receive open-ended employment contracts.

The three plaintiffs are members of the Japan Cabin Crew Union (JCU) organizing individual cabin crewmembers across company lines.

The three women in March 2014 were employed by the national flag carrier of the Netherlands as fixed-term flight attendants. In May of that year, after finishing a two-month training course, they were assigned to Amsterdam-Japan routes. Since then, they worked as cabin crewmembers for five years by having their contracts renewed.

In January 2019, the three cabin attendants requested the Dutch airliner to convert their employment contracts to open-ended ones on the grounds that their employment period, including the two-month training course, exceeded five years.

Under Japan’s Labor Contract Act, employers are obliged to provide open-ended positions to fixed-term contract workers with more than five years of service.

KLM, however, argued that the three workers’ employment period started after the training course and terminated their contracts in May 2019.

In August 2019, seeking to win open-ended contracts and the nullification of their dismissals, the three began their legal battle against KLM in the Tokyo District Court. In the court battle, they claimed that KLM dismissed them without counting the duration of the training in their employment period for the purpose of evading its legal obligation to convert fixed-term contracts to permanent ones.

The Tokyo District Court ruling pointed out that taking a training course is required to work as cabin crew and thus the three workers’ employment period started at the beginning of the training course. The court nullified the three workers’ dismissals and recognized their right to claim open-ended contracts.

After the ruling, at a press conference in the Labor Ministry office building, one of the plaintiffs said, “I’m really relieved at the court judgement. I want to contribute to KLM’s safe and comfortable flight operations.”

In addition to the three, 28 other Japanese cabin attendants, who are also JCU members, are fighting a similar court battle against KLM.

Past related article:
> Japanese CAs fighting in court against KLM's unilateral dismissals [February 18, 2019]

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