Small action of McDonald's Japan employee for basic rights may have ripple effect

Sales of Big Mac sandwiches of McDonald's Japan stores are made possible by the hard work undertaken by non-regular workers, who account for 95 percent (110,747 workers) of all employees.

Saito Yuji, 23 years old, is a non-regular McDonald's employee. At his fourth year with a Tokyo store of the global fast food chain, he found that every non-regular employee has the right to take paid leaves according to McDonald's Japan's rules for part-time workers. That is in conformity with the Labor Standards Law.

When he asked for some paid leave, he was told by the store manager that that's impossible. The manager said, "Technically you have the right, but that's not what the work rules are intended in practice."

Saito did not give up. He decided to use the web site of contingent workers, including McDonald's non-regular workers, to make out a case for the right to paid leaves for part-time workers. Joining a general workers' union, he filed a complaint with the local Labor Standards Inspection Office about the McDonald's store's violation of the Labor Standards Law.

Following the inspection office's advice, the McDonald's Japan reported back that its stores will make known to all part-time workers that they have the right to take paid leave under the work rules.

In July, Saito rejoiced at his salary statement including an item stating: "Paid leave: 3 days."

Saito's small action may have a ripple effect among McDonald's Japan's workers at 2,400 stores throughout the country. (end)