Cabin crew moms sue JAL for wages

Two female flight attendants sued Japan Airlines on Wednesday for significantly reducing their working days, resulting in sharp drops in income, after they chose to be exempt from night flights in order to raise their children.

JAL, the core company of Japan Airlines System Corp., changed its night duty regulations in August 2003 to considerably increase unpaid off-duty days for the two, their suit said, asking the carrier to pay some 5.6 million yen in lost wages.

The suit, filed with the Tokyo District Court, said flight attendants who opted out of night flights were given only one or two duty days a month and saw their monthly incomes fall to between one-third and one-20th of their original levels.

Yoshimi Muranaka, 43, who filed the lawsuit with Mariko Nakai, 48, told a news conference: “In addition to suffering an economic loss, I have been humiliated for being deprived of work. The company is trying to eliminate flight attendants who are willing to juggle jobs and motherhood.”