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Your rights at ECC
        Worth JOINING for

  • Advice and Support
  • Collective Bargaining for Better Conditions
  • Protection and Job Security
  • Workplace Health and Safety

To protect your rights at work the best thing you can do is join the union. Union members get advice and support from our staff and workplace representatives. Membership is open to any ECC employee, part or full time, of any nationality.


Hey! ECC 35-hour Contract Teachers: We Can Make ECC A Better Place To Work!

Our current union campaign is “Let’s PARiTY” and we're working on making sure all one year contract employees, staff and teachers, Japanese and foreign, have equal rights at ECC. 

Joining lets you be involved in spreading fairness at ECC, and making sure that no one is cheated in their work. 

PARiTY also means that we want the same rights to holidays, bonuses, and employment security that other “non-one-year-contract” workers at ECC enjoy.


"Let's PARITY!!" At ECC

"In twenty years of negotiating with employers all around Japan, I have never seen a company that holds their own employees - the economic engine of their own company - in such contempt. Most employers at least have the decency to pay lip service and offer hollow respect."

Dennis Tesolat (General Union Chair)

In January of this year, union members from the General Union and Tokyo Roso working at ECC all across Japan submitted demands to their employer to improve pay and other working conditions.

No company ever starts off with giving in to all union demands - but what we are currently witnessing at ECC is a full assault on the union and its members.


An unofficial response to ECC

In the midst of our dispute with ECC, upper management sent a letter to all teachers disparaging the union by spreading lies about our campaign to win pay increases. As well as spreading lies, the company has committed another Unfair Labor Practice by doing so. Right now, at the request of ECC, we are in non-binding arbitration over across the board pay increases. If talks fail we will be suing the company over the letter.


General Union ECC Branch & Tokyo Roso ECC Foreign English Union: Together and fighting for a 100yen pay raise

This is the seventh story covering our struggle for a pay raise at ECC (see below for a complete list of stories). Feel free to download this as a leafletin PDF and send it on to your friends.

Why 100 YEN?

In a letter which the company will send to all teachers that has been shown to the union, ECC claims that the union is selfish and greedy. Basically they say that we only think about ourselves and not the company.

Well, we’re asking for  a 100 YEN pay raise for two reasons.


Strike Two At ECC

The General Union called for a new strike after the president of the ECC Foreign Language Institute (ECC外語学院; ECC Gaigo Gakuin) withdrew all offers which were being discussed to resolve our impasse at negotiations.

Eighty-one General Union members (nine more than there were during our first strike - proof that the movement is growing), along with more than fifty other union members in Tokyo, struck at ECC for a second day on June 25th, 2016, resulting in the closure of many ECC classes in the Kinki, Chubu, and Kanto areas.

Our demand was simple - a ¥100-per-hour pay rise for all union members.


Negotiations with ECC Collapse – Second Strike Looms

Union executive officers in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya met to discuss a resumption of strike action at ECC. It was decided that if no clear offer is made, members will take strike action on 25 June and 2 July.

Following our strike at ECC over a 100 yen per hour pay raise (in which, on April 23rd, 124 strikers in three regions picketed company headquarters), we had a strong reason to believe that ECC management was intending to move towards resolving the dispute.


Progress Made - ECC Strikes Postponed

Negotiations with ECC over an across-the-board pay increase are progressing, so the General Union ECC branch has postponed a planned second strike.

After a successful April 23 strike, the company agreed to double its original offer, and continue negotiating.


The View From Ecc Branch: "One Of The Most Inspiring Moments Of My Life"

On April 21st, 2016, in the wake of a number of failed negotiations, stalling tactics, and a string of unsubstantial concessions that amounted to little more than lip-service, the ECC Branch of the General Union decided that the time had come to send a clear message to the company by going on strike.


Time for a pay rise at ECC!

We demand ¥100 per hour special pay increase!

The General Union—ECC branch submitted this demand in January. 

That’s about ¥600 per day which is just over ¥12,000 a month. 

ECC has gone years without making an adjustment to members' basic salary and we think that this is the year that they will need to make sure our salaries don’t keep falling behind.


ECC: Join The Union, And Help Fight For A Pay Rise For Everyone

Download our new "Time for a Pay Rise" leaflet.

We've proven that, when we come together, we can make many changes at ECC.

We've been around as a union, in one form or another, since 1995, and have been leaders in winning benefits for both union and non-union members. If someone tells you that they won't negotiate with a union, tell them that they have, and they do.

What has the union won for you? Paid, flexible ALPs; unemployment insurance; health and pension insurance; pay rises; a Kanto living allowance; and these are just the big things.


ECC Mediation Update 2015/08/25



The ultimate ECC mediation FAQ: What is mediation, anyways??

1. What happens at mediation?

The union, the company, and members of the Labor Commission will meet, both together and separately to discuss our demand for a 5% pay raise. There are three mediators, a labour-side, company-side, and public commissioner. Often they will move back and forth between the company and the union with different proposals. Sometimes they may even offer their own proposal to both parties.


We want to talk! We want to teach! We don't want to strike!

It’s been a very busy time at the General Union ECC branch. 

Despite repeated attempts to meet with the ECC management informally, we have been rebuffed at every step.

Our goal is a fair pay increase for all members and members of course will consider any offer made, but ECC has made NO offer to the union.

While we are prepared to go on strike in July, members desperately want to settle this issue with no disruption. So on Wednesday, 24 June union officials went to the Osaka Labour Commission for help. We filed an application for mediation. This means that if ECC agrees we can continue negotiations with the help of the mediators at the labour commission.


ECC Pay Increases - Does Not Compute

As deadline looms, ECC branch delivers message to management

“5% is a fair request.”

“These are my reasons for asking for a 5% pay rise: two sons, one daughter, one wife, one home, rising taxes, falling real-terms salary, 24 years of dedication to ECC.”

“Love your teachers as much as your teachers love your students!”

These are just a few of the messages General Union members wrote for ECC management to read, in a greeting card that was hand-delivered at June 2's collective bargaining session.


June 30: ECC Branch Sets a Deadline over pay demand

At an April 19 branch meeting, members of the ECC branch voted on the following proposal: 

"If our demand for a 5% pay increase for all ECC General Union members is not met, we will go into dispute as of June 30, with a strike date to be determined if the company, with over two months' notice of a possible dispute, does not make a pay raise offer acceptable to members.”

The members who attended the meeting unanimously voted for the proposal, as did the overwhelming majority of the absentee members who voted online in the following week. A notice informing the company of the decision has been sent.


Send ECC a message they won't forget

ECC members will start their second round of negotiations on 15 April. Despite a rocky first round, we hope for a more positive response from the company during our second round, but we're not resting on hope.

We've narrowed our demands down to three main points

  • Use of half-day paid holidays. Despite this being allowed by law, ECC says it won’t recognize teachers’ rights in this matter. 


ECC School Director Evaluation Survey

The General Union ECC Branch played a major part in the revisions to the School Director Evaluation Form for the current school year. Our Evaluation Committee had several rounds of negotiations and ECC management agreed to many of our proposals.

Please take a moment to complete our survey so we can take into consideration suggestions from all teachers working at ECC.

Take the ONLINE SURVEY here

Will ECC see yet another strike over pay?

Members at ECC, after having ran a successful strike last year over pay cuts and doubling their membership over the past year have submitted new pay demands to the company. Last year's strike of about 50 teachers was in order to fight a company proposal to replace yearly performance based pay increments with lump sum payments and hence freezing their wages, but this year members aren't going to be satisfied just stopping clawbacks - they want more money in their pockets.


Strike wins Pay Raise, Lump Sum Payment at ECC

After months of negotiations with ECC and a one-day strike, General Union members have won the reinstatement of annual pay increases for full-time teachers, and a lump sum payment.


ECC Teachers Strike: Pay Freeze NO! Pay Raise YES!

After several rounds of Collective Bargaining with ECC, members in Chubu and Kansai were left with no option but to start industrial action and strike on Saturday, May 31st. The union had been negotiating with ECC management over Pay Increases, Annual Contract Completion Bonuses, Job Security, Teacher Evaluations and more. As Collective Bargaining proceeded ECC`s answers went from bad to worse.


No pay increases at ECC – Yet!

All instructors should be aware that ECC will be mailing out your new contracts shortly. Please note that you will not be advised of your hourly pay increase. Unlike other years, ECC has prolonged negotiations.


ECC Branch: Some of our many achievements

The General Union and ECC have been negotiating for nearly 20 years. The latest Labour Agreement won as part of the 2013 Shunto (Spring Offensive) gives union members more protection against non-renewal. ECC has signed off on renewing members’ contracts unless there are exceptional reasons. This is a huge victory as contract renewals have been a long term concern for members.


How much?


That was the average summer bonus for a shokuin/seishain at ECC this year.


ECC Union Meeting in Nagoya, Sunday October 6th

New to ECC? New to Nagoya? Interested in finding out more about your union? Come along to the ECC union meeting and meet the Nagoya branch reps, non-members are more than welcome.


Collective agreement with ECC secures member employment

On July 29 2013, the General Union and ECC finalized a collective labour agreement over contract renewals. This new agreement gives union members extra protection from non-renewal and the new contract renewal guidelines introduced by ECC in April.


Beware: ECC proposing flawed changes

This April, ECC management announced major changes to teachers' working conditions including new contract renewal guidelines and revisions to teachers' work codes.


The 19 minute question

In the past, ECC teachers punched in and out using time cards. With the introduction of the IC system, teachers touching in or out, outside of the permitted time frame (19 minutes), results in a "system error". These “system errors” are not errors, but system flags that require a decision on whether to pay overtime.


Job security at ECC...coming soon??

The General Union's campaigning for job security at ECC has seen some major changes. From this spring ECC will begin to introduce a system that allows some teachers to become seishain. Native teachers now have the opportunity to be promoted to seishain with recommendations from their supervisors.


Take the Annual ECC Teachers' Survey

It's that time of year - time to take the Annual ECC Teacher's Survey. What do you think about the new SD evaluation? Are you happy with your salary increase? Many ECC employees get bonuses,shouldn't teachers? There's also controversy!


Pay Negotiations at ECC

In line with ECC's improved financial state, the General Union submitted an across the board 10 percent pay raise demand for instructors.

From the beginning, ECC rejected the percentage increase submitted by the union but said they were prepared to offer pay increases for 2013. Pay raises will be based on individual performance and vary depending on district performance.


Job Security for ECC teachers

Winning enrollment in shakai hoken "Employees' Health and Pension" was a huge victory for members working at ECC providing them and their families with the protection that it is standard for full time workers. More teachers are now staying at ECC longer, but job security is limited to a one-year contract.


YOUR rights are at risk!

ECC wants to restrict your private lives, and dictate who you can socialize with. Your personal rights are endangered. Now’s a good time to support yourself and your colleagues in fighting for our basic human rights. Being a member protects YOU and your working conditions. Say NO to ECC management’s proposed “no-socialization with students” policy. The union is concerned that you could be disciplined, non-renewed or even fired for:


ECC teachers demand job security, pay rises

Branch members at ECC have submitted demands for unlimited term contracts for those seeking more permanent type employment, contract completion bonuses for those who are on one year contracts and a 10% pay increase for all teachers.


ECC Union News October 2012

Halloween Costumes ECC has agreed to provide basic Halloween costumes at all schools. The union has asked ECC to explain what will be provided by October 20. ECC has sent all schools an email advising them that costumes should be available. If your schools are not providing a costume please contact the union.


Coolbiz: A Health Hazard?

Most workers welcome the introduction of Coolbiz, and the relaxed summer dress codes. It was a buzz work for work efficiency and economic stimulus during Junichiro Koizumi’s reign as Prime Minister. However, times have now changed and the majority of businesses have implemented Coolbiz as part of setsuden, (energy saving measures), and offices are no longer cool.


ECC teachers demand permanent contracts


ECC typhoon: Not safe for students, but safe for staff?

Workplace health and safety is a General Union priority. While most workplace accidents at language schools are minor, we as workers must not become complacent. We have the right to expect that our employers will do their utmost to protect our safety at work and while traveling to and from work.


ECC Union History - 1996 ALP Win

February 26, 1996 General Union ECC Branch declared. The first demands were:


Take the ECC Typhoon Survey

The union is far from impressed with ECC's latest decision to keep teachers and staff at schools as Typhoon Guchol approached the Japanese coastline. Out of concerns for student safety, all classes in the Kinki district were cancelled. However, employee safety does not seem to be a priority for ECC, with all full-time teachers and staff ordered to stay at schools despite classes having been cancelled.


Union wins Special Leave at ECC

The General Union has negotiated the introduction of Special Leave for full-time instructors. You can now take the following unpaid special leave on application to personnel.


ECC School Director Evaluation Changes - Take the online survey

ECC is proposing changes to the contents of school director evaluations. The union believes that the consensus of all employees at ECC is necessary to implement the changes.


ECC Shunto "Spring" Negotiations Update

The first round of the shunto "spring" negotiations were held on Feb 28. ECC has agreed to the majority of the union's 2012 demands.


Annual Leave at ECC- How many days do you get?

Note:This information is a guide only. Contact your union rep for further advice before consulting ECC.


Shunto negotiation demands submitted to ECC

The ECC branch has voted to submit demands for negotiations later this month. Talks will center around job security and the introduction of special leave.


Negotiation deadlock broken at ECC

The union's strategy of applying for mediation with the Osaka Labour Relations Commission has achieved its purpose- breaking the negotiation deadlock with ECC.


November Union-Management Talks

The union met with ECC on Friday, November 18th, to discuss the emergency personnel number, evaluations and SD meetings.


Halloween Costumes - Don't pay for one!

As Halloween takes off in Japan, it is also becoming a popular autumn sales theme. At ECC, Halloween is no longer simply a KEW cultural lesson.


Halloween Costumes - Take the online survey

Halloween event lessons have become a new sales promotion at ECC. Teachers are now under even more pressure to wear Halloween costumes. The union believes that ECC should provide some kind of allowance to cover expenses related to Halloween.


ECC refuses mediation!


Union protests "NO WAGES" for part-timers!

Only a week ago ECC told the union that the working conditions for native instructors were great and that they couldn't understand the union's demands for permanent employment. This week part-time native instructors got a nasty surprise.


ECC recognizes union's SIC demands

ECC has taken the union’s grievance over summer intensive courses (SIC) seriously and has promised to make major improvements.


ECC SIC Survey Results- 65% of teachers unhappy!

Nationwide, ECC union reps have been hearing concerns about summer intensive courses. Teachers have raised issues about the lack of notice and access to teaching materials.


ECC Summer Intensive Courses- Online Survey!

ECC union reps have been hearing concerns about summer intensive courses (SIC) from teachers across Japan.


ECC - Paid "Influenza" Leave

Company Policy on influenza recently changed. This is another union success.

Union members were concerned that teachers with legitimate illnesses were disadvantaged by ECC’s evaluation system. Another major concern was that teachers who followed their doctor’s orders and company policy were placed in a disadvantageous position.


Evaluations - One teacher's opinion

ECC's annual evaluation process for native English instructors is broken.

Typically, an employee evaluation creates standards and goals. While native teachers are given an employee handbook and work code, ECC does not give its instructors goals, or at least, does not give them realistic ones that can be achieved.


ECC - Open meeting for members & friends

We are holding 2 open meetings. One in Nagoya and one in Osaka. They are open to members and non-members alike.


Are you safe at work?

Workplace health and safety awareness in language schools nationwide is quite low. Each spring the General Union ECC branch submits demands to make ECC a safer place to work.


Training Pay Doubled- Thanks to the Union

It wasn't so long ago that training outside of your usual shift was paid at a flat 1000 yen per hour. Thanks to the concerted efforts of our members, the union was successful in winning its demands to have training paid at your regular teaching rate. That means a minimum of 2030 yen per hour!


First Aid Kits - small but important!

Workplace health and safety is a high priority for the ECC Branch. The union continues to push for better safety in schools.


General Union celebrates 15 years at ECC

In recognition of the 15 year anniversary of the General Union ECC Branch, we are making it easier to join than ever. Pay 1000 yen to cover your first 2 months of membership. After that, have your dues automatically deducted from your salary.


ECC School Evaluations - Take the survey

ECC Evaluates Teachers. The criteria are often unclear, arbitrary and subjective. The union continues to push for improvements in the system.


2011 Academic Year Demands submitted to ECC

Negotiations with ECC for the 2011 Academic Year are scheduled to start on January 19th.


2010 - The ECC Branch in Review


Union demands that the IC Timecard replacement fee be abolished!

The ECC branch is set to negotiate over the replacement fee for lost or damaged IC Timecards.


ECC - Goodbye Timecards! Beware!

ECC is implementing changes to the manner in which working hours will be recorded. Several members have already raised their concerns to the union. Members are worried that they will no longer have access to a copy of their punch in and out times.


A new forum for ECC union members

The union and ECC have started labour-management discussions (Collective Agreement 2010.4.26) giving members the opportunity to express their concerns, opinions, and suggestions directly to management.


Block/ASM Meetings & Buffer Days- New Collective Agreement Signed

ECC has agreed to avoid the confusion experienced regarding block meetings.

The union and ECC have recently signed a collective agreement that will see ECC provide at least 10 days notice regarding start and finish times and working locations for Block/ASM meetings and buffer days. When ECC is unable to meet these deadlines they will inform the union without delay.


Water Coolers- New Agreement Signed

The union has won the installation of water coolers in schools with limited access to water.

ECC has agreed to provide water coolers in schools where the only access to water is in the toilets. Many schools have shared kitchen facilities with other tenants. If you are still without water at your school, please let the union know.

ECC Annual Leave with Pay (ALP) Lottery to be abolished

LotteryTeachers working for ECC in the Nagoya area (Chubu District) are set to benefit with the annual leave with pay (ALP) lottery being abolished.


Yes, males can take childcare leave!

The percentage of the male workforce in Japan taking childcare leave is less than 2 percent. Employees though, especially the breadwinner, are reluctant to take childcare leave for primarily two reasons:

1. Childcare leave is unpaid and the childcare allowance provided through unemployment insurance only pays up to 50% of the employee’s average wage. Taking paid annual leave is their preferred choice.

2. Taking childcare leave reduces their bonus.

ECC has very clear rules regarding childcare leave that includes full and part time instructors. However, the childcare leave policy is only available in Japanese, and no reference is given to childcare leave in the full time employee work regulations or handbook. Concerned that instructors are unaware of childcare leave the union submitted demands that ECC clarify their childcare leave policy and include childcare leave in the working regulations for full and part time teachers.

ECC has agreed, and in the coming months, childcare leave for instructors will be clarified.


ECC-Union Grievance System Summer Update

Members at ECC have the benefit of asking the union to submit grievances to ECC over any issues that may arise.


Shunto Agreement Signed: A new voice for ECC union members

The General Union ECC Branch has signed a new collective agreement giving union members another avenue of communication with ECC.


Improving workers lives at ECC:General Union's long history shows why unions are important

ECC is one of the oldest General Union branches. ECC members already benefit from an established union/employer grievance procedure and a preconsultation agreement.


Performance Based Salary Increases- Update

Shunto negotiations at most workplaces this year were tough- ECC was no exception. The uncertainity created by the global financial crisis was given for rejecting union demands that would put pressure on company finances.


New Agreement Strengthens Union Members' Rights @ ECC

One of the oldest General Union branches, ECC, has become the first union branch at a major eikaiwa chain to win a union dues check off agreement with their employer.


Workplace Health and Safety- Evacuation Procedures

Workplace health and safety is something that is often overlooked in the eikaiwa industry.


2010 Academic Year Negotiations Start

Negotiations with ECC for the 2010 Academic Year commenced today.


My contract is for 29.5 hours. Can I get shakai hoken @ ECC?

The answer is YES.


ECC teachers win a toll free number!

Thanks to the General Union ECC branch, teachers with substitute shifts will no longer be required to spend money to find out what their working hours are.



ECC sub-teachers are unfairly burdened with the cost of calling HQ every day they sub. In fact, there is a question if teachers are legally required to.


ECC - Best School Picture?

Do you recognize these flashcards? What school are they from?


ECC Collective Bargaining Update

Collective bargaining is moving forward – there is positive movement on some points with the company refusing to budge on others.


ECC Negotiations Set for February 5

The second round of negotiations has been set. Branch members are encouraged to attend and send ECC a message. Please note that non-members are not permitted to attend.


I don't need a bag. I need a pay increase!

Join the union and let ECC know you want a pay increase.


Special Paid Leave

ECC, like many Japanese companies, provides school management staff and office employees with special paid leave to cover events such as family deaths and weddings. The union believes ECC should extend these benefits to full-time language instructors.


Special Paid Leave at ECC

ECC, like many Japanese companies, provides school management staff and office employees with special paid leave to cover events such as family deaths and weddings.


The Issues: ECC

ECC union members have voted and are submitting the following demands to ECC.


Daily allowance for sub-teachers

The union is calling for ECC to provide sub-teachers with a daily allowance of 500yen.


ECC Nagoya ALP Lottery System

Are you aware that the ECC Chubu district is the only area that uses the ALP lottery system?


English Payslips Arrive!

Thanks to the General Union ECC branch your payslips should now be easier to understand.


Important Notice to ECC teachers enrolled in Shakai Hoken (Employees' Health and Pension)

The Social Insurance Agency (Shakai Hoken Cho) is currently seeking confirmation that your pension records are correct.


ECC 100 Campaign

In the summer, we launched the ECC 100 Campaign and are happy to announce that we have met the first target and won our training pay demands.


ECC 100 Campaign On Target!

In the summer, we launched the ECC 100 Campaign and are happy to announce that we have met the first target and won our training pay demands.


ECC Best School - A close one!

Thanks to all of you who voted in this year's Best School Survey. The results were that close that we have decided to name the top 5.


Are you happy with the ECC training system?

Nationwide instructors have been contacting the General Union unhappy about the current training system. Isn't it time you did something about your working conditions?


ECC - The Issues

Why 100 yen? Starting salaries for full-time instructors have remained constant since the 29.5 hour contract was introduced ten years ago.



Compare conditions at ECC to teachers at AEON. This is why we want a decent pay increase and decent training pay rates.


ECC Yen 100 Campaign

ECC union membership has voted and are launching the ECC 100 campaign.


Our training is so good

"The quality of the training is high and many other institutes would charge you for a similar training or qualification."Quote from ECC's recruitment website.


Additional information