A labor union formed by and for "kyabakura-jo" (club hostesses) held their first protest Friday night in Shinjuku's Kabukicho district. Around 150 members marched through the streets followed by a truck with giant speakers that pumped out music into the neighborhood, shouting things such as "Pay us right!"
Some women participated in the 80-minute protest wearing full cabaret dress. They waved banners that said "Stop harassment!" and "No more withholding wages."
Both men and women in the industry are demanding better working conditions, and the group was also working to make known a new consultation service for those who are having problems. Many hostesses have complained about not getting paid, violence, sexual harassment and fine systems.
Union representative Rin Sakurai explained they hoped the union's efforts will help improve the poor standards that have become normal in the industry. "They don't need to put up with bad treatment just because they are bar hostesses," Sakurai said.
Some are apathetic, however. One male club worker complained, "Those who get fined for being late, it's their own fault." Higher-ups in the union were seen walking and smoking during the protest and verbally abusing traffic cops in the area.© News reports