JAL recruit cabin crew on a permanent basis (a news story from Kohkuren, Japan)

May 9, 2016

In December 2015, Japan Airlines (JAL) announced a change to the employment practices it has had since 1994, and will now recruit cabin crew members on a permanent employment basis starting from April 2016.

This is a great achievement in our long fight over 20 years since the company went ahead with its employment practice to hire all cabin crewmembers on a temporary contract basis.

In general, temporary workers are paid less than permanent workers despite the same work and responsibility they bear. In addition, their contract may be terminated by the company business perspective of the company. The term of contract varies from multi-year contract to two months’ contract. In the case of Japanese cabin crewmembers, one year contract is the mainstream of the employment pattern.

In addition to the above, the renewal of contract would depends on the company’s whim and that placed workers in a position where they were restricted in their words and deeds, and they have to bite the bullet over moral harassment so that they can have their contract renewed. Those terms of employment resulted wholly in the exploitation of workers.

Due to the reasons mentioned above, the turnover rate of cabin crewmembers at JAL has not decreased. As a result, new cabin crew members occupy sheer numbers, which inevitably leads to the significant decline of skill as safety professionals.

The change of employment policy must be a business judgment of the company to cater to the increasing demand for the 2020 Olympics, by stemming the tide of a high turnover rate. Employment insecurity will be improving by such change, however, there is no guarantee that employees will stay in their jobs for longer periods because low wages remain unchanged. Therefore, we must ramp up efforts to win level of wages which cabin crewmembers can be hopeful for their future.

In Japan, temporary contract workers are not uncommon in all industries and, as is the case among industrialized nations. The effect is that the income of Japanese workers has been getting worse and worse. Japan is experiences a downturn in demand and stagnation of the economy. The only way to improve the slumping economy is that all workers are hired on a permanent basis and guaranteed a wage level in which they can live without anxiety. We further strengthen our solidarity with workers and stand firm together.

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