Japanese agree to Sunday work
CARGO handling on Sundays for ocean going container ships will finally become a reality at Japan's Big Six ports - Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe and Kitakyushu.
The Japan Harbour Transportation Association (Nikkokyo), representing the management, has reached an 'agreement on exceptional measures for the 'no cargo handling on Sundays' system' with two unions.
They are the Japan Council of Port and Harbour Transport Workers' Unions and the Japanese Confederation of Port and Transport Workers' Unions.
Under the accord, cargo will be handled on Sundays at the six major ports for a year - on a provisional basis.
Sunday cargo handling is likely to be continued as a permanent system from next year, provided unions' demands on working practices are met.
The unions have made it a condition that Sunday cargo handling is limited to shipping firms which are paying port-related fees approved by the Ministry of Transport.
The work will also be confined to terminals which conform to management-labour accords on port labour.
Shipping firms and terminals which violate these conditions will be excluded from Sunday cargo handling.
The conclusion of the latest agreement has been welcomed by both Nikkokyo and the unions as a major step forward.
Nikkokyo considered it a near certainty that Sunday cargo handling would continue as a permanent system.
As a result, it has expressed a desire to look at improving working conditions.