Berlitz Teachers: More Money; Fewer Classes. Brought To You By: The General Union. (Starts September 18th)

In a remarkable display of solidarity and strategy, Berlitz union members have made enormous gains for all instructors at Berlitz - both union and non-union.

The biggest gains:

  • A ¥90-per-40-minute-class pay increase for per lesson (PL) teachers. For a new teacher, this is a jump from ¥1920 per class to ¥2010; an almost 5% increase! (For our non-Berlitz friends: a "per lesson teacher" is kind of like an on-call part-timer, and a major pillar of the Berlitz workforce.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Caveat Subscriptor: EngoEnglish.com

With the recent rise in “Uber-style” services, and the up-tick in companies attempting to use social media applications in the workplace in an attempt to make themselves seem "trendy", it should come as no surprise that there are people in Japan who see this trend and wonder: "how can I use something like this to make money at the expense of naive but well-meaning foreigners?"

One answer to that question is yet another suspect "student introduction service": EngoEnglish.com

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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.

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Can't get no satisfaction.....at Berlitz

The classic song by the Rolling Stones expresses the recent mood at Berlitz perfectly.

Remember taking the Employee Satisfaction Survey a few months ago? Well, the results send a very clear message!

Overall Job Satisfaction is down to only 34%!!! That’s a full 9% lower than the already low score of 43% from last year (even though we have more employees now). In plain English, and without any distracting numbers, that means the considerable majority of employees (Instructors, Staff, and Managers alike) at Berlitz are not happy with the current situation and operational practices. But most people knew that already.

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Peppy Dispute Comes To A Close

The first article written about the General Union and Peppy Kids Club ("Working At Peppy Kids Club?") was written on May 17th, 2012. Since that time, much has been done to create better working conditions for everyone involved - much to the dismay of management.

We've borne witness to the formation of the Peppy Kids Club Branch; demanded that the company follow the law and provide working rules as per Article 106 of the Labor Standards Act; pressed the company to provide unemployment insurance; tackled the company's unenforceable confidentiality agreements; and butted heads several times over the company's insistence on making employees pay for their own business-related travel expenses up front and out of their own pocket.

In December of 2012, Peppy Kids Club retaliated by firing the Chair of the Peppy Kids Branch of the General Union. The company attempted to dismiss this action as a non-renewal of contract due to poor performance.

Suffice to say, the General Union took swift action. ("Peppy Kids Club Fires Branch Chair - Union Moves Into Action")

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Truths About Nova’s Independent Contracts - #2 Paying To Use The Classroom

Nova charges ID Contract teachers 100 yen per lesson to use the same lesson booth a regular teacher uses for free. Why?

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