Photo: SoraNews24
business

Two Sushiro workers form Conveyor Belt Sushi Union, seeking better wages and more

13 Comments
By Krista Rogers, SoraNews24

Sushiro, a popular chain of revolving sushi (kaitenzushi) restaurants, is in the midst of collective bargaining with employees who have formed a new workers’ union to represent workers of conveyor belt sushi chains across the country.

On October 27 at a press conference in Tokyo, two male university students employed part-time at the sushi chain announced the creation of the Conveyor Belt Sushi Union within the Restaurant Workers’ Union to which they belong. The students, an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old, work in Tokyo and Saitama locations of the chain respectively. Back on August 31, they had filed a written request with Akindo Sushiro, Sushiro’s managing company, through the Restaurant Workers’ Union to seek reform. Their demands included the following:

  • Compensation for preparation time, which can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes before the start of their paid shift when they thoroughly sanitize themselves
  • The calculation of working time, which is currently done by rounding down to the closest five minutes, in more accurate increments, as well as retroactive payment of such wages to all employees
  • Raising the hourly rate to a standard 1,500 yen per hour due to the labor shortage and added burden on workers
  • No requirement to use their full names on name badges
  • Better air conditioning in the hot summer months

▼ The Restaurant Workers’ Union post about the formation of the Conveyor Belt Sushi Union

Screen-Shot-2022-11-01-at-10.07.22.png

In an initial response dated September 22, Akindo Sushiro agreed to pay wages based on increments of one minute moving forward, will require only an employee’s surname on name badges, and is considering better air conditioning during the summer months. The chain has also added a uniform three minutes of additional pay for preparation time but has refused to retroactively compensate workers for rounded-down working time.

Collective bargaining is scheduled to take place on November 15, during which talks regarding the latter point and changing the hourly compensation rate are expected to continue. The new union is also accepting new labor consultations in an effort to effect change, having received approximately 20 petitions from other conveyor belt sushi restaurant workers employed at other chains such as Kura Sushi and Kappa Sushi so far.

Source: Kyodo News via OtakomuMSN

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- How to dispose of pizza boxes: Life hack from Japanese garbage man goes viral online 【Video】

-- We get to be (probably) the first ever to try Nissin Cup Noodle’s latest creation: Gyoza ramen!

-- The Ghibli theme park’s food looks good enough to be a reason to visit all by itself【Photos】

© SoraNews24

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
Login to comment

Compensation for preparation time, which can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes before the start of their paid shift when they thoroughly sanitize themselves

The calculation of working time, which is currently done by rounding down to the closest five minutes, in more accurate increments, as well as retroactive payment of such wages to all employees.......

You would think that such demands would be "common sense", a phrase Japanese business culture seems to use in other contexts.

The chain has also added a uniform three minutes of additional pay for preparation time but has refused to retroactively compensate workers for rounded-down working time.

For people that can often individually express random acts of generosity, Japan Inc. is terribly stingy.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

In high school, I worked at Disneyland and had to join a union (it was obligatory). I didn't like paying the dues, but our conditions were similar to those demands above - in particular, we were paid for the time it took to change into costume and walk to our workplace (I was in Frontierland, on the far side of the park).

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Good luck to them, everything they are asking for seems perfectly reasonable to me.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

good luck guys

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Very reasonable demands

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Just TWO of them ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Unfortunately, the Japanese are raised not to question and to not make a fuss-just accept!

Kudos to these two young lads

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Just TWO of them ?

I think those are just the two who are organizing it, hopefully the union membership will be significantly bigger than that. They have their own website where workers can join:

https://www.restaurants-union.org/about-2

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The Japanese should be rightly proud that their nation has such low levels of violence while at the same time they should be equally ashamed that their country has so many 'black' companies and workers rights are nearly unheard of.I think that these are the 2 sides of being so subservient one is good the other bad.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Excellent. Nothing worse that the scam of prep time, not being counted as work. If you're in the office, doing something work related and you can't walk out then ITS WORK. English jobs do the same scam. OH your only paid when your teaching.... SO WHY the heck should be do any PREP WORK, for free.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

These guys have reasonable demands. Good luck to them. If employers don't like unions, they should treat their workers better, so they don't see any point in unionising.

When the economy slides, everyone should expect to get poorer. In the West, workers expect to be insulated from that by being paid more. That is often not feasible. Any additional support should be aimed at the worst paid, who will face serious problems. Higher wage earners should expect to see a real terms reduction in their wages. That's what a recession means. Welcome to reality, folks.

In the West, if people want more money, they go on strike. In developing countries, people work harder. Alongside idiot policies like Brexit and Western trade sanctions/restrictions, that is why developing countries can expand their economies when the West goes into recession, and why they are bouncing back post-Covid.

Japan is somewhere between the two, with generally useless unions, low pay and no benefit in being good at your job. The best solution in Japan is neither the lousy unions or quitting. Consider your day job your way of paying your bills. Your side hustle is what will make you cash, and an increasing amount as you get better at it.

Do all of your workplace tasks, as required by your employer. Unpaid overtime? Nope. Go home at 5pm. What will they do, if you are getting all your work done? Ban you from being dragged out to get drunk with your boss in an izakaya? Not promote you? Promotions work on age, so it doesn't matter. They are unlikely to sack you, if you are getting all your work done. Worst case scenario, they put you in the basement to count paperclips. Great. You can work more at your side hustle, collect your pay for counting those paperclips, and go home at 5pm to concentrate on your new empire. Your employer loses out.

I'm not suggesting you cheat your employer - you should do the tasks they pay you for. Just use any spare time productively on your own business, and don't do any unpaid overtime. Our time is limited. We need to make the best use of it.

My postman (from India) ran his own business on his mobile phone as he did his rounds. I got my post reliably, he had two incomes. Very sensible chap.

It is a system. Work it. Ethically. Do your job properly, earn your wages, and maximise the use of your own time. There is money to be made out there even in a recession. Quit whining and go do it. And stop being entirely dependent upon other people for your income. Your parents, your boss, your government. Go earn your own cash.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My company would have walked all over its foreign workers were it not for our strong union. They wouldn't even provide a decent place to sit down in some offices. I wish these guys the best and I hope to see more bold action like this from other workers in professions and industries.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Laguna Thank for the information I assume this is why Mickey and Minnie Mouse is always in a hurry to get destination in the park.

In high school, I worked at Disneyland and had to join a union (it was obligatory). I didn't like paying the dues, but our conditions were similar to those demands above - in particular, we were paid for the time it took to change into costume and walk to our workplace (I was in Frontierland, on the far side of the park).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites