Major Trouble at Cheap Haircut Shops: QB House Hairdresser Accused of Real Name “Sues for Unpaid Overtime Wages of 28.36 Million Yen” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Major Trouble at Cheap Haircut Shops: QB House Hairdresser Accused of Real Name “Sues for Unpaid Overtime Wages of 28.36 Million Yen”

Major trouble at a discount haircut store with about 590 stores nationwide that charges 1,200 yen for a 10-minute haircut.

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The store in Kanagawa Prefecture where Mr. Kasagawa works. The store is operated by an area manager who is entrusted with the business.

QB House is evading responsibility and putting the front-line staff at risk,” said Takashi Kasagawa, 65, an active beautician, angrily.

Mr. Takashi Kasagawa, 65, an active beautician, expresses his anger.

QB House revolutionized the haircut industry with its inexpensive pricing of 1,200 yen for a 10-minute haircut. The holding company was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s prime market in 2006, and has about 590 stores in Japan. On February 14, eight hairdressers working for the company filed a lawsuit against the operator, QB Net, seeking approximately 28.36 million yen in unpaid overtime wages and other compensation.

In addition to the stores directly managed by the company, there are other stores operated by sole proprietors, called area managers, who are outsourced to the company. The hairdressers who filed the lawsuit were those who were employed by the area managers. Even though their work is the same as that of the directly managed stores, there is a big difference in treatment between them and the employees hired by the head office.

We don’t get a written document stating the details of the contract.

Mr. Kasagawa filed a lawsuit. He said, “Not only the employees hired at the head office but also our working environment and treatment should be improved.

One of the plaintiffs, Mr. Kasagawa, applied for a job at QB House in July 2008.

When I was looking for a new job after the closing of the hair salon where I worked, I saw a job posting for QB House at Hello Work. I contacted the head office (in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo), and after an interview with Mr. F, the person in charge, I was hired.

However, Mr. F was not an employee but an area manager in charge of some stores in Kanagawa Prefecture, and he only verbally informed me of his salary and other details. He was not given a written contract as stipulated by the Labor Contract Law.

I signed the document marked ‘QB Staff Employment Form’ (the fourth sheet), but the ‘Salary Setting’ column was blank. However, Mr. F signed the ‘Interviewer’ column, so I was led to believe that he had been interviewed by the head office employee in charge of this district.”

The doubts gradually increased.

My paycheck (the third sheet) clearly states ‘QB HOUSE’ as the payee, and the affiliation and employee number columns make it appear that I am a regular employee of the head office,” he said. However, I heard other staff members refer to Mr. F as ‘president. It is strange to call Mr. F, who is supposed to be the person in charge of the district, ‘president.

Mr. F. also began to harass him.

Six months after I joined the company, he suddenly and unilaterally lowered my monthly salary by 20,000 yen without explanation. When I asked Mr. F why, he said, ‘Because we don’t have enough people to cut hair. It takes about 10 minutes for one person to get a haircut, but it can take a long time. But Mr. F. didn’t explain the terms of the contract or anything else to me, and I decided on his own that it was because it was inefficient.”

Although he believed his employer was QB House, Mr. Kasagawa grew distrustful of the company through inadequacies in the contract and power harassment.’ In 1919, he launched a labor union with colleagues from the same store. They demanded collective bargaining with Mr. F and QBNet to confirm their status.

According to Mr. F’s explanation, I was employed by him, a sole proprietor who signed an outsourcing contract with Cubinet. If he had explained this at the time of the interview, it would have been enough, but I am not convinced now that he has told me such a thing. The head office employees are fully covered by social insurance and have a full benefits package. We did not even have health insurance or pension insurance, and our overtime wages were kept low and we were forced to work unfairly.

The approximately 28.36 million yen claimed by Ms. Kasagawa and the other plaintiffs is the portion of the fixed overtime pay and unpaid wages for hours worked in excess of the statutory 40-hour work week, which is within the three-year statute of limitations for claims.

In response to the lawsuit by Mr. Kasakawa and others, C-B-Net (General Affairs and Personnel Department) explained, “The plaintiffs have an employment relationship with our company.

We are aware that the plaintiffs are not employed by the Company, but are in an employment relationship with a subcontractor who has entered into a subcontracting agreement with the Company. We recognize that the improvement of the working environment at the outsourced stores is something that the outsourced operators should take the initiative in addressing first, but if it is difficult for them to make improvements on their own, we will make efforts to correct and improve the situation.

Attorney Shoichi Ibusuki, who represents the plaintiffs, condemns QB House’s attitude.

The company will raise the cutting fee to 1,350 yen in April, citing as the reason ‘active investment in improving the working environment for barbers and beauticians and in human resource development. Then they should first solve the problem of workers employed by area managers.”

How will the judiciary judge the working conditions at QB House, which has been sued by an employee?

Mr. Kasagawa’s pay stub. In the upper right corner, “QB HOUSE” is clearly written in the “company name” and the employee number is also marked. It could be taken as a head office hire.
The “employment letter” was not initially in Mr. Kasagawa’s possession. The “salary setting” column was left blank, but when we obtained it through collective bargaining, it contained the amount of money.

From the March 17, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview, text, and photography Masayoshi Katayama


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