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JTA pilots walk out on strike

Date Posted: 1998-04-05

Some pilots and crew members of Japan Transocean Airline (JTA) went on strike, Saturday, demanding higher wages and improved benefits for all employees of the company. The strike, however, has left passengers stranded and is threatening to "destroy peoples' lives," according to local mayors.

By Monday, seven scheduled flights and three common commuter routes had been canceled, including flights from Naha to Kume Island, Naha to Tokyo, Miyako Island to Tokyo, and Ishigaki Island to Naha. More than 800 passengers have been left in limbo, forcing travelers to change their plans.

Some students, on vacation during their spring break, have been staying at aiport terminals because they can not afford accommodations in hotels or inns while waiting for other flights. JTA is the only airline offering service to Kume Island and the two regular flights to and from the island have been canceled because of the strike.

Mayors from Gushikawa, and Nakazato Village on Kume Island recently held a meeting to discuss the repercussions of the strike.

The action taken by some pilots and crew members was not a surprise, however. Each year a strike begins and city officials have decided to plead with JTA company owners and board members to get the flights back in the air. The mayors decided they could no longer keep quiet about the strikes when they disturbs the lives of island residents and affect critical economic conditions.

JTA told the mayors the company will try their best to get passengers traveling and, if necessary, will hire high-ranking non-union pilots to get the airline running again.

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