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.

 ECC can afford it!

  • We know that both the Kinki and Chubu regions of Gaigo are in the black. Sales are increasing
  • While Kanto remains in the red, the company continues to expand in that area and they are funding their own expansion.
  • You can’t claim a loss when you’re self financing your own expansion. This is an investment, NOT A LOSS!
  • Furthermore, ECC as a whole is in a good financial position. It’s not just the Gaigo section that they need to look at, but the whole company. In fact, ECC promised the Osaka Labour Commission last year that they would negotiate based on the health of the whole company.

We are clearly falling behind money wise.

  • At ECC, pay-raises are traditionally based upon an evaluation system, and over the years, under this system, pay increases have declined overall. Instructors are tired of a rigged system where those who have to pay the increase also get to evaluate you.
  • While two years ago we were successful in halting a general pay freeze, we are now still receiving only half of our annual pay increase as an accumulative salary increase; the other half is a non-accumulative lump sum.
  • In April 2014, the consumption tax rose from 5% to 8%, just as our pay increase was cut in half.
  • In October this year all instructors (working 20+ hours) will need to be enrolled in social insurance.
  • Between 2012 and 2015 the average wages for "regular workers" rose by only 1.7%, while the consumer price index rose by 3.9% - all of which means that the real wages (factoring in consumer price index (CPI) changes and inflation) saw a decrease of 4.6%.
  • ECC members are not "regular workers" (seishain—permanent workers) and, on average, such "irregular workers" earn only 70% of what a "regular worker" makes.

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Where are things at now?

Our goal is to win a substantial increase for our members, but let’s face it, when the union wins everyone benefits. You joining the union to support your coworkers and yourself will speed up our victory and we plan on winning

Negotiations between the company and the unions started in January this year and since that time we’ve held numerous collective bargaining sessions and other meetings with the company. Add to this our two strikes and we’re clearly moving the ball down the field.

We’ve gone from an offer of zero, to 3,000 yen per month (25yen/hr), to 6,000 yen per month as an initial pay raise with another one to follow. So what’s the hold up?

Based on the offers that ECC has made up to this point, we can see that the issue isn’t the money. The sticking point is that ECC wants to divide it up only based on evaluation. The union has been clear with ECC that our pay raise needs to be across the board to help employees make up for their shrinking salaries. Our answer to ECC has been that if they want some pay raises based on evaluation, they are welcome to do that AFTER they negotiate the base pay increase with the union. We even got to the point of discussing how this would work.

But this conversation suddenly ended when the president withdrew ALL offers to the union and ended up forcing a second strike. They must have thought we were bluffing and would call off the second strike when the offers were withdrawn, but union members instead agreed to stick to the strategy of striking when the company tries to move the conversation backwards.

So at the beginning of June ECC made an application for mediation. It is very rare for an employer to apply for mediation in Japan, and we feel this indicates that they're surprized to have lost the advantage, or are trying to save themselves from an unfair labour practices suit. Mediation is now the union’s summer homework and will start in August in Tokyo.

We know that the more of us who join and the more we stick together, the more chances we’ll have of not only achieving our pay demands but of doing it quickly and hopefully without having to resort to further strike action.

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Join the union, and help fight for a pay rise for everyone.     Time for a pay rise at ECC     The view from ECC branch: "One of the most inspiring moments of my life  Progress made - ECC strikes postponed     Negotiations with ECC collapse - Second strike looms     Strike two at ECC   

 

 

 

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