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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 February 27 - March 5  > We can't go on any longer: franchise owners' union requests collective talks with 7-Eleven
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2019 February 27 - March 5 TOP3 [LABOR]

We can't go on any longer: franchise owners' union requests collective talks with 7-Eleven

February 28, 2019
Representatives of a union of convenience-store owners on February 27 visited the Seven-Eleven Japan head office in Tokyo and made a request for collective negotiations over store closures and a reduction of 24/7 store hours.

Matsumoto Mitoshi, an owner of a Seven-Eleven in Osaka's Higashiosaka City who received a notice which charged him a penalty of 17 million yen for having shortened the store hours and which terminated his franchise contract, accompanied the union representatives.

Many Seven-Eleven franchise owners often complain that the head office does not give support when they needed and forces them to remain open 24 hours 7 days a week.

According to the union, the initial contracts signed between Seven-Eleven Japan and its franchise owners stated, "The store will remain open until 11 p.m." However, a provision was later added: The store is open around-the-clock and to be open less than 24 hours is not allowable unless the owner obtains approval and makes a special agreement with the head office.

The union pointed out that Seven-Eleven members do not have any discretion regarding their store hours and that any change must be approved by the head office. Therefore, they are virtually in a master-servant relationship with Seven-Eleven Japan.

Matsumoto explained that his store had been short-handed after his wife died last year, so he had had to work more than 16 hours every day. Fearing for his health, he in vain asked the head office to give him support. Out of necessity, he closed the store between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.

The fined owner hopes that owners themselves will be able to decide on their store hours. "The head office never listens to us. We may have to stage a strike."

Past related articles:
> JCP’s efforts lead to victory of 7-Eleven workers fighting against wage theft [October 19, 2016]
> Labor dispute board orders convenience store chain to hold collective bargaining with franchise owners [ April 17, 2015]

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