Management at the Jiyugaoka American Apparel Outlet in Tokyo have unfairly dismissed an employee, and are closing the store in an alleged union busting exercise.
The dispute was triggered on August 20th when a part-time store-attendant was dismissed without legitimate reason. Management claimed that this action was in response to the employee's violation of work rules.
Tokyo Seibu Union, through its branch at the store, carried out collective bargaining to demand the attendant's job back. In response, American Apparel conceded that the dismissal was illegitimate and reinstated her.
However, they are using an unexplained store closure announced for the end of September to continue liquidating the union, the members allege. A similar union busting exercise by American Apparel Japan two years ago was successful. Though management have informally promised to transfer employees to other stores, many employees, including union members and the reinstated employee, have still not been given any details, and the company refused to justify the closure during collective bargaining.
On Saturday night, the union carried out a leafleting in front of Shibuya station to coincide with a promotional party being held at another American Apparel outlet. Activists from Tozen Union and Zengakuren came out in solidarity. The action aims to put pressure on the company ahead of next week's round of collective bargaining.
This incident follows on from previous stories about American Apparel's poor labour relations. Now, in addition to hiring and firing practices based on the appearance of women's bodies, it seems American Apparel has branched out into aggressive union busting.