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Base workers settle dispute and call off strike

Date Posted: 2007-12-19

Japanese workers on U.S. military bases have backed down, agreeing to forego their special allowances that typically account for 10% of their pay.
The All Japan Garrison Forces Labor Union agreed to the deal with the Defense Ministry Tuesday. Union president Kazuo Yamakawa says the strikes scheduled for later this week have been canceled. He called the pay cuts “painful” but says they were necessary to prevent strikes and labor unrest.
The union agreed to eliminating the special allowances, an amount roughly 10% of central government employees’ base pay, and also special language study benefits. The agreement will become effective at the beginning of the 2008 fiscal year on April 1st. The deal was struck between the Zenchuro, the common name for the All Japan Garrison Forces Labor Union, and the Defense Ministry, which employs the workers for U.S. bases.
To soften the blow, the Defense Ministry agreed to pay half of the language benefit, and half the 10% extra pay allowance, for five years before phasing it out. The move is expected to slash Japanese government labor costs for supporting U.S. bases by ¥370 million.

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