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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 June 4 - 10  > High court approves unfair dismissal of JAL pilots
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2014 June 4 - 10 [LABOR]

High court approves unfair dismissal of JAL pilots

June 6, 2014
Concerning a lawsuit filed by former pilots against Japan Airlines (JAL) for their dismissals, the Tokyo High Court on June 6 upheld a lower court decision and rejected the plaintiffs’ appeal.

This court ruling follows another one two days ago which also turned down an appeal from ex-cabin attendants fired by the flagship airline.

At the end of 2010, JAL dismissed 81 pilots and 84 flight attendants as part of its restructuring plan. In January 2011, these workers brought class action lawsuits against the airline, seeking the revocation of their dismissals.

In the trials, the plaintiffs claimed that there was no need to discharge the workers, pointing to the fact that before they were sacked, the company already achieved its downsizing goal for restructuring. The company was unable to refute this argument. The high court, however, disregarded the complainants’ claim and approved the unfair dismissals.

Following the court ruling, a rally took place near the court building attended by approximately 400 workers and the plaintiffs’ supporters.

At the rally, the complainants’ group head, Yamaguchi Hiroya, condemned JAL’s management for having long implemented a hostile policy toward union members. He expressed his determination to continue to struggle by appealing to the Supreme Court, stressing, “It is workers who ensure aviation safety. Kicking us out of the company is tantamount to shutting down a safety device.”

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Yamashita Yoshiki commented on the court decision as follows (excerpts):

This is an unfair ruling that paves the way for allowing employers to continue their abusive job cuts. Since a JAL jumbo jet crashed in Gunma Prefecture in 1985, these workers, as union members, have persistently demanded that the management put top priority on aviation safety. Allowing the airline company to discharge such experienced workers will amount to threatening the lives of the general public. The JCP resolves to continue struggling together with the plaintiffs for the sake of all workers and the safety of aviation.

Past related articles:
> Dismissed JAL workers appeal court judgments [April 13, 2012]
> Pilots worldwide protest against court approval of JAL’s dismissal [May 10, 2012]
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