The Tokyo Regional Labor Relations Committee ordered Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) on Sept. 25 to pay back wages and allowances that were reduced for union members who took part in a protest campaign over the safety of Nozomi bullet trains.

According to the committee, Nozomi trains were involved in two incidents in April 1993 in which the trains’ high speed caused pebbles on the roadbed to be kicked up. The JR Tokai-ro union asked management to ensure the trains’ safety, but the carrier did not comply, the committee said.

The union told the company that starting May 21, 1993, motormen would reduce the speed of Nozomi trains from a maximum 270 kph to 230 kph when passing Gifu Hajima and two other stations. The company either refused to let union members who were to take part in the protest drive Nozomi trains or reduced their wages and allowances, according to the committee, which called the action an illegal labor practice. The protest campaign ran until Sept. 14, 1993, but actual speed reductions did not take place because the carrier used different motormen.

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