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JTA strike snarls flights, impacts thousands

Date Posted: 2008-06-13

Dozens of Japan Trans Ocean Air flights have been cancelled and an equal number delayed as a worker strike begun June 4th rolls on.

The workers union has spearheaded support for JTA’s 15 nominated pilots, striking since last Wednesday to press for pay increases and bonuses. Other worker associations have joined the picket lines, inconveniencing more than 4,000 air travelers already. Both JTA officials and the workers union have been meeting, but not coming close to compromises.

“We want to apologize to everybody,” a JTA official says. “We’re trying to save the situation and do our best not to cause trouble,” he said, referring to the irate passengers who are finding their flights delayed or simply canceled. The workers union chairman, Taisaku Kouriyama, is equally apologetic, admitting “we know we’re causing trouble, but we’re asking the company to listen to our compromise.” Kouriyama says “the company never listens to us, so we continue the strike.”

Cancellations are heavily impacting flights throughout Okinawa Prefecture. Dozens of flights between Okinawa and Osaka, Fukushima and Okayama are also being grounded by the Naha-based airline.

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