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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

JAL Cabin Crew Union: This is a de facto layoff!

As reported earlier, Japan Airlines (JAL) plans to shut down its Osaka (Itami) and Fukuoka cabin attendant bases and move all cabin attendants to Tokyo in June. JAL's Cabin Crew Union (CCU) held a press conference yesterday and officially commented on this change. Of course, they are not happy about it.

According to CCU, there are currently 445 cabin attendants based in Osaka and 62 in Fukuoka. Only two of the affected cabin attendants are males. And more than half of the affected cabin attendants cannot move to Tokyo immediately. It's hard for people with family with such a short notice. Your husband and kids have to move too and in some cases your parents because you want to take care of them. It's a tough choice and that's why UCC says this is a de facto layoff!

"It's impossible for those flight attendants who are engaged in child rearing or nursing care to transfer to Tokyo right away. The airline is basically conducting de facto layoffs," union members said. (Mainichi Daily News)

On the other hand, UCC also brought up a concern about how this going to affect JAL's operations. Most cabin attendants fly on 2 consecutive flights to and from a regional airport right now. If JAL only has 2 cabin crew bases instead of 4, when the flights from Haneda are cancelled due to weather or whatever reasons (like a car accident? :P), it might be difficult for JAL to find last minute crew replacement to those supposed to be on flights from the regional airports, and therefore causing more flight cancellations. JAL decline to comment on this.

This is just one of the risks JAL has to take. There should be ways to avoid cancellations. Maybe they just have to change their roasters a bit and the problem can be avoided or if it happens, it will cause minimum cancellations. I feel sorry for those who can't move to Tokyo. ANA isn't hiring much people either so they might have to change their job or join a LCC or foreign carrier (which means more time away from home which they might not want either). At least JAL is nice enough to offer early retirement. Those affected should take it if they can, at least there is a lump-sum payment and some of your benefits will remain for a while. Good luck!

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