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Japan sees rare strike as workers at landmark department store protest sale – One America News Network

By Ritsuko Shimizu and Rocky Swift

TOKYO (Reuters) – Workers at a major Tokyo department store went on strike on Thursday after talks with management over the planned sale of their company broke down, marking the first major walk-out the country has seen in decades.


Some 900 workers at the flagship Seibu store in the bustling district of Ikebukuro are protesting the nature of the planned sale of their company Sogo & Seibu, a unit of retail giant Seven & i, to U.S. fund Fortress Investment Group.

They are seeking job and business continuity guarantees, unhappy with reported plans for discount electronics retailer Yodobashi Holdings to take over roughly half of the store.

Critics, which include local officials in Ikebukuro, argue that such a change would also cheapen the store’s image. Yodobashi is Fortress’s partner in the deal.

The strike – the first at a major Japanese department store in 61 years – followed months of negotiations between Sogo & Seibu management and the workers’ union.

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Strikes are extremely rare in Japan, where negotiations over wages and work conditions are typically agreed amicably.

Seven & i apologised for the strike in a statement and said Sogo & Seibu would continue to hold talks with the union.

Other Seibu and Sogo department stores were open for business as usual.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Shimizu and Rocky Swift; Writing by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)






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