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Base workers union warns it will strike next Wednesday

Date Posted: 2007-11-16

The Japanese Workers Union of American Military Bases in Japan says it will strike the bases November 21st if the Self Defense Ministry rejects its demands today.
The Zenchuro, the union, has rebuffed the government proposal to cut base worker salaries 5~10%, and says it will show its displeasure with a strike next week. There are 26,000 Japanese workers on American bases across the country, with 9,000 in Okinawa. Of those, 16,000 nationwide and 6,000 in Okinawa are union members.
Kazuo Yamagawa, the Zenchuro chairman, met with the Self Defense Ministry’s regional support assistant director, Morio Ito, on Wednesday. The government has refused to back down on its plan, and Yamagawa told Ito “If you don’t give enough answers to what we are asking, we will go on strike.” Ito said the government isn’t going to change its plan, but still agreed to meet today with the union.
A strike next Wednesday will mean the base gas stations will be closed, and Army and Air Force Base and Post Exchanges will close for about four hours. Eizo Yonaha, Okinawa branch headquarters chairman for the union, says the Okinawa Workers Union has already voted in favor of the strike, but only for a four-hour period.
The union contends worker salaries must be protected, and not reduced. An official with the Okinawa Workers Union says its members have been briefed on the plan, and “everybody is mad.”

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