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.


Caveat Subscriptor:

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":


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.


Can't get no 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.


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")


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?


Your Rights and Amity Housing - My Story

I work at Amity and I recently cancelled my housing contract with the company, while keeping my job. Fortunately, this paradox did not destroy the fabric of space-time.

When I first asked my Manager about finding a new apartment, she told me that the company-provided accommodations were non-negotiable. I was disappointed, but did my best to make the place habitable. It was much smaller than I was used to. There was no kitchen, just a hallway with a fridge, a sink and one lonely burner. Although I disliked my apartment, I figured there wasn’t anything I could do, since I’d already been told no.


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.


Truths About Nova’s Independent Contracts - #1: The Non-Competition Clause

When you're offered both an independent contract and an employment contract, you might think that the independent one offers you more freedom. After all, doesn't the word "independent" imply that you're a freelance tradesman, free to practice your skills for anyone you like?


Nova Group Action Suit – Independent Contracts

The union executive recently voted to fund a group action suit against Nova to end “Independent Contracts” and to seek compensation for lost benefits for those teachers either tricked or forced onto one of these contracts.

Since their inception over a year ago, the General Union has believed Nova’s “Independent Contracts” to be illegal. Consultations with lawyers have confirmed our beliefs. Initially we had hoped that we would be able to negotiate with Nova to phase out the system but they are hell bent on sticking with it, denying teachers paid annual leave, workers accident insurance, unemployment insurance, health & pension benefits, and paid maternity and childcare leave.


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