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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 January 16 - 22  > Major hair salon chain forced to pay 338 hairstylists 48 million yen in back pay
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2008 January 16 - 22 [LABOR]

Major hair salon chain forced to pay 338 hairstylists 48 million yen in back pay

January 18, 2008
Actions of a union member working as a hairstylist at Ash Co., Ltd., a hair salon chain that has many outlets in Tokyo, have forced the company to pay all its 338 hairstylists a total of 48 million yen in back pay for unpaid overtime.

Yanagi Katsuya, the 23-year-old hairstylist and representative of a hairdressers’ union affiliated to the Tokyo Young Contingent Workers’ Union, announced this at a press conference on January 17.

This is a significant achievement in the efforts to establish rules providing decent working conditions in the beauty industry in which long working hours and low wages are prevalent due to the de facto apprentice system in the name of training, Yanagi emphasized.

Tokyo Young Contingent Workers’ Union Secretary General Kawazoe Makoto said, “It is an outstanding achievement made by hairstylists through collective bargaining in an industry that is notorious for creating ‘full-time working poor’.” He expressed determination that the union will strive for creating better working conditions across the industry in which illegal labor practices such as dubious deductions in salaries and failure to provide workers with social insurance has gone unchallenged.

Yanagi said that he has been forced to work more than 16 hours a day, hand out sales flyers to passers-by all day, and work without pay, and that his salary was unfairly reduced. His yearly income barely reached two million yen. Under such harsh conditions, Yanagi fell sick and had to take sick leave.

With resentment against exploitation of young workers, Yanagi has earnestly engaged in union activities to increase public awareness of the severe working conditions of hairdressers and to improve them.
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