Due to a shortage of workers, convenience store franchise owners have increasingly been dealing with the difficulty of operating their businesses 24 hours a day. On Wednesday, two representatives from the labor union of franchise convenience store owners visited 7-Eleven Japan Co’s corporate office in Tokyo to discuss reducing the 24-hour services currently offered nationwide.
The move comes amid a dispute between the convenience store operator and a franchisee in Higashi-Osaka City, who started closing his store between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Feb 1 due to a staff shortage, Fuji TV reported. The owner, Sanetoshi Matsumoto, 57, is being sued for 17 million yen by 7-Eleven Japan Co for allegedly breaching his contract. He said he had to shorten business hours because he didn't have enough part-time workers and he was having to work up to 16 hours a day and feared for his health.
According to the union’s request submitted on Wednesday, franchise owners criticized the current difficulty in changing business hours which requires company permission and the lack of discretion given to owners when it comes to flexibility in adjusting the 24-hour service standard. The owners are collectively requesting the major convenience store chain to allow shortened hours in cases where there is a shortage of part-time workers or where stores are in areas subject to heavy snowfall, for example, making it hard for staff and customers to reach the store.© Japan Today