Japan's largest strike involving rail, airline, postal, telephone, taxi, underground railway and bus workers reached its heights on Thursday (11 April).
SV PAN Unionists snake dance through streets
GV Union men clashing with commuters on platform
SV Broken train window as union men sit down shouting slogans
SV Union men fight with commuters. Police intervene
GV PAN demonstrators to train leaving station (2 shots)
(TOKYO) GV Temple in Tokyo
SV PAN Shrine to commuters resting in temple
SV Man reading newspaper in makeshift bed
SV Commuters talking in temple
SV Union supporters carrying flags
SV & CU crowds boarding bus (2 shots)
CU Shinjuku railway subway
GV Deserted turnstiles and platforms
CU PAN Subway to shutters drawn at entrance
GV Empty railway lines
GV Bullet train depot with train stationary
GB PAN Post office lorries in depot
GV Buses in depot empty
GV Traffic jam
Initials AE/1.06 AE/1.30
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Background: Japan's largest strike involving rail, airline, postal, telephone, taxi, underground railway and bus workers reached its heights on Thursday (11 April).
Violence broke out in the northern coastal town of Niigata on (11 April) where an angry crowd of Japanese National Railway workers had to be separated from a strike breaking driver. Riot police broke up the unionists and the six trains which left Niigata station that day were virtually the only ones running in Japan.
The Japanese Federation of Trade Unions (SOHYO) organised the strike which began on Monday (8 April). The strikers are asking for a 30,000 Yen (44 pound sterling) minimum monthly wage rise and the constitutional right to strike.
Many commuters could not get to work. Some businesses had to close, others kept going by putting their employees in hotels and even temples for the night.
The strike is expected to continue until Saturday (13 April). A further three day transport strike is scheduled for next Tuesday (16 April) but airline and private railway workers are expected to agree to less militant action.
Japanese Labour Minister Hasegawa is still discussing the situation with Mr. Shogo Okhi, Secretary-General of SOHYO. Some progress towards a settlement has been made but the committee discussing whether public employees should have the right to strike has shown signs of reaching agreement.