January 4, 2010 / 3:35 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-JAL says has employee approval for pension cuts

(Updates with details on retirees)

TOKYO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Japan Airlines Corp 9205.T said more than two-thirds of its employees have agreed to proposed pension cuts, clearing a key hurdle in its push to cut its pension shortfall and qualify for a state bailout.

The airline needs the agreement of two-thirds of its roughly 16,000 employees and 9,000 retirees for the cuts so it can reduce a pension shortfall estimated at 331 billion yen ($3.6 billion) at the end of March.

Without approval for the cuts it would not qualify for the support of a state-backed turnaround fund that is now weighing whether to shore up the ailing carrier’s finances and help it restructure. [ID:nTOE603007]

JAL said in November that it was seeking a cut of slightly more than 30 percent from retirees and a reduction of more than 50 percent from employees. It has set a Jan. 12 deadline for them to respond to the proposal.

A JAL spokesman said more than two-thirds of its employees had notified the carrier they would agree to the cuts.

He said roughly 3,000 retirees have also agreed, while the remaining 6,000 retirees had not yet responded one way or the other. (Reporting by Nobuhiro Kubo, editing by Will Waterman) ($1=92.93 Yen)

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