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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 April 9 - 15  > Part-timers at pub-restaurant win late-night premiums in back pay
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2008 April 9 - 15 [LABOR]

Part-timers at pub-restaurant win late-night premiums in back pay

April 13, 2008
Eight young part-time workers at a pub-restaurant in Sapporo, Hokkaido, won late-night and holiday premiums in back pay in one year struggle after organizing a branch of a local union that is open to any workers.

The nationwide pub-restaurant chain “Tsubohachi” paid the young workers two years in back pay and concluded an agreement with them that future working conditions will be discussed in labor talks.

The workers decided to join the local union following the company’s deception in connection with the local Labor Standards Inspection Office inspections of the outlet in late 2006.

The LSIO ordered the company to pay workers late-night premiums, and the company paid workers 1.25 times the hourly wages for late-night work. But as soon as the LSIO ended its inspections, the company stopped paying the premiums for late-nigh work and even cut the standard hourly wages to make up for the losses it incurred in paying the premiums.

Enraged by the company’s deception, the workers found the local union “Yui” in the phone book. “Yui” is a local union that accepts workers on an individual basis.

In order to show the power of unity, the eight workers joined the union, informed the company of their unionization, and had the first collective bargaining talks in May 2007.

The company tried to argue that the hourly wage is set high by taking into consideration night rates, but the workers exposed the company’s lies by producing their work records.

After seven rounds of negotiations in a year, the workers succeeded in forcing the company to pay them 1.25 million yen in premium pay for their late-night work in back pay, give the workers the right to paid holidays, and enroll them in the employment insurance.

Takahashi Mika, 24, has two other part-time jobs in addition to one at the pub-restaurant. Though she works almost 15 hours a day, her monthly income is only about 150,000 yen. Due to usual work shifts, they had difficulty meeting to prepare for negotiations with the company after they established their union branch. However, they got over the hurdle by holding meetings with two or three members attending whenever possible.

The secretary of the local union “Yui” said that the union wants this labor agreement to be known to other young workers.
-Akahata, April 13, 2008
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