Millions of weary Japanese commuters elbowed their way to work in packed private railway trains on Wednesday (3 December), the last day of a massive strike by government works.
LV & SV Ikebukuro publicly operated station deserted (2 shots)
LV Crowds of people going to private subway and being directed by policewoman through microphone (3 shots)
CU Thousands of people walking (4 shots)
SV People queuing for train tickets
SV Crowded train leaving station
LV Vans arriving at fish market
LV & CU Fish market with fish on display(4 shots)
LV & SV Delivery vans outside post office
LV & SV INT Post Office sorters working through backlog of mail(4 shots)
Initials BB/2255 AMN/MR/BB/2310
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Background: Millions of weary Japanese commuters elbowed their way to work in packed private railway trains on Wednesday (3 December), the last day of a massive strike by government works.
The rush-hour congestion in Tokyo was the worst since the strike began one weak before. An estimated 19 million commuters were inconvenienced by the strike -- the worst and longest of its kind in Japan's history.
But the eight-day strike by 860,000 public employees seeking government restoration of their legal right to strike was called off on Wednesday, two days earlier than planned.
The left-wing Public Employees' Council (Korokyo) said it was called off the strike because of the suffering of the people.
The Council denied it had capitulated following Prime Minister Takeo Miki's statement that he would not yield to an illegal strike, though he promised a fresh study of strike legislation.
The railways system lost 33,700 million yen (about 5 4 million sterling) due to the strike. Its current deficit stands at 3,1000,000 million yen (nearly 5,000 million sterling) in addition to long-term debts.
The unions were demanding the legal right to hold strikes which was withdrawn from public employees 27 years ago.
Not only the railways were affected. Food transportation and postal deliveries were badly hit. In an emergency step, the government ordered wholesalers to use their own trucks for delivery of essential goods to consumer centres.
The walkout by government postal workers caused a huge backlog of undelivered mail. It will take more than a week to deliver the mail. The strike by the 2 00,000 Postal Workers Union has caused pile-ups of more than 35 million items of mail throughout the country.
SYNOPSIS: On Wednesday publicly-run trains at Tokyo's Ikebukuro Station were idle on the eighth and last day of Japan's longest and biggest strike by government workers. An estimated 19 million commuters were forced to cram into privately-run railways. The rush-hour congestion in the Japanese capital was the worst since the strike began on the 26th of November. About eighteen thousand trains stopped running during the strike by works of the Japanese National Railways and other public enterprises. The workers were demanding the right to strike which was taken away from public employees twenty-seven years ago.
But late on Wednesday, the left-wing public Employees' Council, Korokyo, said it was calling off the strike because of the suffering of the people. The Council denied it had capitulated following Prime Minister Takeo Miki's statement t hat he would not yield to an illegal strike--though he promised a fresh study of strike legislation. The railways have lost about fifty-four million pounds because of the strike. They were already deeply in debt.
Commuters, forced to find alternative means of transport on privately-run trains, often faced delays of up to three hours.
The employees' Council has said there will be no further stoppages this month. The two unions of the state railways earlier threatened to stage a new wave of strikes in mid-December.
Another area that was adversely affected by the strike was food transportation. The government, in an emergency measure, ordered wholesalers to use their own trucks for delivery of essential goods to consumer centres. Thousands of trucks arrived early in the morning at Tokyo's main food market with goods from farming area.
And Japan's postal services were badly hit. The walkout by government postal workers caused a huge backlog of undelivered mail. The strike by the 200-thousand strong Postal Workers' Union has caused pile-ups of more than 35 million items of mail throughout the country. Postal officials say it will take more than a week to disperse the mail. Part-time student workers have been brought in to help sort the massive pile of letters. State workers were granted the right to strike in 1946 at the start of the post-war Allied Occupation. But the right was removed two years later, when the occupation administration feared strikes would be used by communist agitators.