Berlitz Members Vote Yes In Strike Vote

With an overwhelming majority, a vote to enter dispute mode with Berlitz has carried this last week of August. Strikes, or other dispute acts, will not happen immediately. We will continue to negotiate with Berlitz about salary guarantees and job security for "Per Lesson" instructors in good faith. While progress is still being made action of any kind is on hold.

Taking the decision to strike or enter a dispute is never taken lightly. We ask other union members to support the Berlitz members.

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You are voting on this:

To enter into dispute including strikes with Berlitz Japan if they do not meet the union demands for employment and income security for PL instructors.

  • For
  • Against

Background –

Last year we began negotiations with Berlitz to provide some form of regular, sustainable income for PL instructors. We did this on the basis that we believe the PL system is not allowed under the Labour Standards Law.

We’ve been negotiating for many months now and have put in a rather clear demand to Berlitz to cover wages during slow periods.

In the past months PL instructors have seen significant drops in income levels. While we hear student numbers are generally down we know that there are other reasons for this also.

  • For the first time, outsourced contract instructors working at schools and universities are being brought in to LCs to teach in their traditional down time. This is cutting into lessons for PL instructors.
  • We have also heard that the lesson assignment role was removed from MI duties and was being done according to a formula automatically
  • New contract FT instructors also appear to being given priority, and in many LCs they are being given priority for out of contract lessons rather than giving lessons to PL instructors.

 

In reality, union leadership believes that the PL system is unstainable, BUT we also believe Berlitz has a responsibility to protect the incomes of current PL instructors.. We should have our first indication of their intentions on September 14 when we hold collective bargaining. If they do offer something it is sure to be a low-ball offer.

 

Like when we negotiated for the payment for the break period not so long ago, having a strike(dispute) vote approval in our back pocket will help negotiations along.

  • This vote does not mean we will go on strike. It allows for the possibility. What is the possibility of a strike? It is impossible to gauge.
  • When would a strike happen if we did? We don’t know - Definitely not in the immediate future. At a minimum, we would need to call for another branch meeting.
  • What form would a dispute or strike take? Again we don’t really know. A decision would have to be made depending upon the circumstances at that time.

 

At some point we will arrive at a point where Berlitz’s answer will not get any better and at that point you will vote again whether to accept the employer’s offer OR start a dispute including strike action.

 

As someone has been involved in strike action at both Interac and YMCA, I understand this is not an easy decision to make but I would urge you to vote in favor.

 

Additional information