A woman was sacked from the Caffe Veloce chain in Japan after being told she was “no longer fresh enough”.

The woman who was unfairly dismissed.

The woman who was unfairly dismissed.

“Only young applicants need apply, and workers will be dismissed in four years when they start to lose their freshness.”

The remark was made by the Nakamura Ayumu, president of Chat Noir Co., which runs the Caffé Veloce chain.

On July 7, a woman who had worked for the cafe for nine years was dismissed as she was “no longer fresh enough,” according to the company. She joined Tokyo Youth Union and filed a lawsuit.
“I worked strenuously for Caffé Veloce, one of the franchises, in Chiba for nine years,” she said during the campaign against the company in front of its main office in Tokyo’s busy Ikebukuro district.

“When I turned 28, the company terminated my contract for ‘lack of freshness’. It is unacceptable that I was not considered of any value at all as a woman nor a human.”

The lower court decision is to be handed down at the end of July.

Caffé Veloce – which has a reputation in Japan for low cost quality – employs about 5,000 workers as part timers, with only 300 are full time workers. The company is hugely profitable and exploiting the “freshness” of precarious young workers is its business model.

The action represented the voices of 5,000 workers. Her struggle continues until the unfair age discrimination is abolished.– Originally published by LaborNet Japan


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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