Japanese railwaymen and other public employees defied Government warnings on Friday (1 March) and staged a 24-hour strike to back demands for higher wages and the right to strike.
GV PAN Crowd queue for train tickets at Sninjuku station in Tokyo
SV People put money into ticket machines (2 shots)
GV Police check comuters
SV Commuters down steps onto platform
SV People get off train adn others rushing to get on
GV Train leaves station
GV PAN National Run Subway deserted during strike
GV PAN goodsyard to stationary, bullet trains (3 shots)
GV Closed shops
SV Police standing Ly at demonstration
SV Demonstrators led by union leaders
SV Women carrying placards marching through city chanting
SV Women with children in procession
TV Demonstrators marching
GV Police stop demonstrators
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Background: Japanese railwaymen and other public employees defied Government warnings on Friday (1 March) and staged a 24-hour strike to back demands for higher wages and the right to strike.
An estimated 527,000 workers--including some private industry employees--took part in the strike, organized by the Council of Public Corporation and National Enterprise Workers, and backed by the General Council of Trade Unions (SOHYO).
It was the first stoppage of the recently-declared "Spring Labour Offensive" or "Shunto", and followed a breakdown in talks between public workers and their employers the previous day.
The rail strike stopped 80 per cent of the nation's rail services. The Government estimated that 13 million people were directly affected by the strike--most of them stranded rail commuters. The state-run Pacific Coast Super Express line between Tokyo and Osaka was stopped for the first time in its ten-year history. But private underground and suburban rail services continued to run, and the trade unions agreed to let some state services operate, so hat students could get to University entrance examinations.
The trade unions plan more strikes during the next six weeks to support claims for pay increases of 30 per cent of or more, improved social welfare and anti-inflation measures. The unions also want to reverse the present industrial laws which deny public employees the right to strike.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Susmu Nikaido has warned hat stern action will be taken against Government workers who took part in the strike and that the punishments would include dismissal.
On the day of the stoppage, Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka's office reported that consumer prices in Tokyo rose by 3.6 per cent in February--an steepest increase for any month in twenty years.
Tokyo housewives added their voices to the call for lower prices at a rally in central Tokyo. The chanting women--some carrying small children--marched through the streets to the Hibiya Hall where they supported the strike action of the General Council of Trade Unions.