Sogo & Seibu labor union goes on strike

The labor union of the Sogo & Seibu department store chain has staged a one-day strike. The flagship store in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district was shuttered on Thursday.

The strike is in response to the planned sale of the struggling chain. Sogo & Seibu's parent company, Seven & i Holdings, decided in November to sell it to a US investment firm.

The labor union's objection stems from worries about job losses. The strike is the first at a major department store in Japan in about 60 years.

Seven & i held a board meeting the same day and adopted a final resolution on the deal. The sale was decided, but talks with the union are yet to find common ground.

The firm has agreed to sell the chain for 220 billion yen, or 1.5 billion dollars. It plans to complete the sale on Friday.

The parent company has apologized for the strike.

Seven & i executives addressed stakeholders, saying they are sorry for the disturbance. They say Sogo & Seibu will continue discussions with the union about jobs and business continuance. They added that Seven & i is supporting the talks in an appropriate manner.