Bar hostesses to form labor union

Kyodo News

Facing unpaid wages and sexual harassment, a group of women who work as hostesses at ‘kyabakura” bars plan to form a labor union to demand better treatment, sources familiar with the move said Tuesday.

Kyabakura is a combination of the words “cabaret” and “club.” Hostesses sit next to customers and entertain them with conversation and liquor.

The hostesses are planning to hold a meeting in Tokyo this month to prepare for the formation of the union under a trade union that covers part-time, nonregular and foreign workers, they said.

A woman who used to work at a hostess bar in Tokyo is at the center of the drive to form the union. She has applied to the metropolitan labor dispute office for redress, saying she never got some of the wages due her and she suffered sexual harassment from male employees at the bar.

“Bar managers and colleagues told me that various bad conditions should just be ‘taken for granted.’ I hope the labor union will be able to provide support so that hostesses will not have to suffer,” she said.