TOKYO – Following the disruptive bus strike in South Africa, Japanese General Union members have sent several communications to locals on email and social media on how they hold progressive strikes. The Bus drivers in Japan went on strike weeks before the strike in South Africa but going on strike in an unusual way.
Instead of forming a picket line, they’ve draped blankets over the fare machines and are giving free rides to everyone. This is an interesting tactic. If they had refused to drive the buses, the company’s management could tell the public that the drivers only cared about themselves and not the passengers who depend on the buses.
Instead, the drivers are doing everything they usually do, except collect money.
This isn’t the first time such a strike has occurred in Japan or around the world. Both Brisbane and Sydney held fare-free days as part of labor disputes last year. The earliest documented case of a “fare strike” goes back a protest by Cleveland streetcar workers in 1944, and similar cases involving other services have happened in Europe and Latin America prior to that.