Japan train driver sues after wages docked for minute delay

·2-min read
Japan's train network is famously efficient and punctual (AFP/Charly TRIBALLEAU)

A Japanese train driver is suing his employer after his wages were docked 56 yen ($0.50) over a minute-long delay to the country's famously punctual rail system, the company said Thursday.

The driver filed the suit against the West Japan Railway (JR West) earlier this year after it fined him for a work mix-up in June 2020 which caused the delay, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported.

He is seeking 2.2 million yen ($19,470) in damages for mental anguish caused by the ordeal, the report said.

The driver had been scheduled to move an empty train to a garage in Okayama station in western Japan, but went to the wrong platform.

The mix-up delayed the driver changeover and meant the train departed the station and arrived at the depot a minute later than scheduled, the newspaper said.

The company argues it was appropriate to dock the driver's wages because no labour was performed during the mix-up.

A JR West spokesman confirmed the lawsuit to AFP on Thursday, declining to comment "as the suit is pending".

"The reason why this became a lawsuit is differences over how to interpret" the cause of the delay, he said, adding that the company had applied its "no work, no pay" rule in docking the driver's wages.

The man, who has not been named, argues that the delay was a minor human error and that he should not have been considered absent from work.

Japan's rail system is famously efficient and punctual, and regularly cited as an example for networks around the world.

In 2017, a local railway operator made international headlines after issuing a deep apology for the "tremendous nuisance" caused by the departure of a train 20 seconds early.

kh/sah/reb

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