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Union workers staging strike on Arimura ships

Date Posted: 2008-07-17

Three passenger/cargo ships belonging to Arimura Industry, which went bankrupt last month, are sitting idle off Naha Port, and former ship employees are demanding action and refusing to go ashore.

The ships are at anchor off Camp Kinser in Urasoe City, waiting for paperwork from bankruptcy officials that would turn the three vessels over to Arimura’s largest creditors. The striking workers, all former employees of Arimura and members of the Nationwide Ship Workers Association, are demanding the company put the ships back in service and let them keep their jobs.

“It’s fair to give the ships to the Institute Company of Carrier Lines,” says bankruptcy trustee attorney Yoshiaki Tome. “It is fair to give the ships to them,” he notes, because the institute is owed the most money.

Workers disagree, saying “we can’t give up the ships; the institute hasn’t even asked for them yet, and besides, if they take the ships it’s against worker laws.” The striking workers have vowed “we will never give these three ships to them.” The bankruptcy trustee’s attorney says he’ll ask the striking workers to get off the ships, but the workers union has insisted it will continue the strike and remain aboard the passenger ships.

Arimura says it will take the workers union to court if they don’t vacate the ships.

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