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Nagoya Gaidai: GU wins improved working conditions for language tutors.

Negotiate to winThe General Union branch at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies (NUFS) has made steady progress over the last year,  in particular by improving working conditions for PUT tutors. These are part-time teachers, working on language programs, who are paid on a per-lesson basis. This means that if teachers are unable to teach classes for any reason, for example sickness or classes cancelled because of typhoons, they have not been paid. Unlike most part-time university teachers, including those at NUFS the nature of the program makes it difficult for them to teach make-up classes and they are not paid for the summer, winter and spring breaks.

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A long term Berlitz teacher and union member shares his thoughts on working at Berlitz

As a long term Berlitz instructor, I've seen the company implement many positive changes that benefit management and the students. Unfortunately, these changes have been detrimental to instructor working conditions and every new generation of instructor is expected to give more for less.

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New Berlitz branch officers send out notice for strike vote

Many people have been following our Berlitz story with great interest. The main part of the story is the union's ongoing struggle to make sure that ALL work time, not just teaching time is paid. After many years Berlitz has now made an attempt to cover payment for work between lessons by offering a tiny rate increase while making many clawbacks especially to those on per lesson contracts.

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Send Berlitz a resounding NO to clawbacks! Sign the union petition

Think you're getting a pay rise? Think again!

Berlitz Japan is trying to convince teachers that they will win with the company's new contract offering, but union members don't believe this! Union members are still locked in negotiations with the company to protect and improve working conditions.

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Demands submitted to Nova for Collective Bargaining

Stagnant working conditions at Nova have seen our branch become more active and we have recently submitted demands to the company for collective bargaining in early December. Pass on the news to your colleagues. And also ask them to take our survey at bit.ly/novasurvey

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Aeon subsidiary Amity implicated in teacher's suicide

A labor standards office in Ishikawa Prefecture took an unusual move to determine that the suicide of an English-language instructor was caused by the extra work she was forced to do at home.

The woman had sent e-mails to colleagues and acquaintances lamenting the extra work. She also wept in phone calls to her father about her workload.

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Dear John Doe

Thank you for your anonymous email from a hidden email address.

You wrote about a number of problems at your company that are most likely illegal. But what is the use of writing if you are unwilling to sit down and talk with us? We aren't the police, and we can't go storming in with batons and handcuffs, ready to arrest the owner.

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Osaka C-NETs: A two tier system!

 

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Gaba Instructor Christmas Party 2014

General Union Gaba Branch invites you to Super Jam Part Four - The Gaba Branch's third Christmas Party!

ゼネラルユニオンGABA支部があなたを招待GABA教師のクリスマス パーティー

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In the booth: Blocking sexual harassment

Instructors at Gaba in the past struggled to have clients who harassed them blocked. The GU brought this directly to the company last year, and Gaba changed the rules. No one should be harassed at work. Here it is in graphic form:

 

 

Defeat the "Zero Overtime Pay" Bill! Stop karoshi and regulate working hours

It seems that the Abe government's goal is to make Japan "the world's easiest country to do business in". And so the notorious "white-collar exemption", already rejected once, has come up yet again. Presumably as a part of this, a debate has already begun at the Labor Policy Council within the Welfare and Labor Ministry over a new system, one that would drastically loosen the Labor Standards Law regulations on working hours, and would have wages decided not by hours worked, but by results achieved.

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Don't give Berlitz a free ride. Organise!

The General Union has been negotiating for pay before, between, and after lessons since 2007 and for the last seven years Berlitz has consistently told us that teachers DO NOT WORK BETWEEN LESSONS!

 

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Stop! Think before you upload that cute student photo

Does your school have specific rules about taking pictures with students, and about uploading them to social media?

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Happy Halloween. Do you have your costume ready?

Halloween has exploded in Japan and most language schools make an event of it, requiring teachers and staff to wear costumes to lessons or a school party.

While some people don't mind, the union, and the Labor Standards Law, doesn't believe that employees should be burdened with the cost of a costume. If it is a requirement of your job to wear a costume the school should either provide costumes, or reimburse teachers for the cost of buying one.

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Disaster preparations at Gaba Corporation

Instructors who were at Gaba in 2011 will remember the trains stopping and the streets being clogged with cars. Some will also remember walking huge distances to get home in the middle of the night. The Tokyo government wants to prevent a repeat of this in the event of any future disaster.

On September 29th the union submitted a query to Gaba asking how they were complying with the Tokyo Metropolitan Govermment ordinance from April 2013 stating that companies should keep supplies in their offices in case of people being stranded in a disaster.  

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11/22 Ganbare, Metro Ladies! Irregular Workers' Assembly in Tokyo. Please join in!

NUGW Tokyo East's Metrocommerce Branch is a group of non-regular employees working at kiosks in Tokyo Metro stations. They are fighting to eliminate wage discrimination between them and the regular employees. On the 22nd of November, they are holding an assembly to appeal for support for their branch's struggle, and also to call on fellow non-regular employees--who suffer from the same sorts of discrimination and low wages--to stand up together. We hope every one of you will be able to participate.

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General Union supports Hong Kong protests. So can you.

At the request of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions our union has submitted a protest letter (see below) to both the President of China and the CEO of Hong Kong protesting their attacks on pro-democracy protesters and strikers.

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From the Archives – British Culture Academy

Some things never change. Back in 2006 we ran a story from our sister union in Tokyo about problems at British Culture Academy. Here it is eight years later and they are just as sketchy as ever. The company has made illegal salary deductions for resigning, necessitating teachers lodging a case with the Labor Standards Board. Contact us if you work there. It just goes to show you need to keep a strong union in your work place.

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What made you join the union?

As a union of mostly migrant workers we put a lot if effort into recruiting new members as people are regularly returning to their home countries. Recruitment is essential for us. We do a lot of different activities to make the union attractive to new members. We hold open meetings, we make leaflets, YouTube videos , we stand outside schools ready to talk to people willing to listen, but in the final analysis, whether people join or not, comes down to our current members.

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Sexual Harassment in Eikaiwa

The Japan Times has published another article dealing with incidents of sexual harassment in the English teaching industry. It is very sad that this kind of article is necessary, but it is. Sexual harassment in the workplace should not be accepted, and if it occurs it should be dealt with by employers. Unfortunately this is often not the case, particularly when the person doing the harassment is a client, as has happened at Gaba Corporation.

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Osaka C-NETs seek to improve working conditions

After months of preparation, we are happy to announce the formation of our new union branch at Osaka City Board of Education. Known as Osaka C-NETs, the branch consists of Native English Teachers (NETS) who teach alongside Japanese English teachers.

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Osaka C-NET Demands

Here is a list of the demands that have been submitted to the Osaka City Board of Education. We expect we first negotiations to be in the coming month.

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C-NETs Executive Committee

Will L. (Chair)

I'm William from the East Midlands in England, and I've been working as an Osaka C-NET since August 2013. I was born and raised in the UK trade union system and I've been with the General Union since July 2014.

 

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Nova Continues to Stagnate for Instructors - want to help improve things?

Four years on from the acquisition of GEOS and a long period of restructuring and branding changes, things at Nova have stabilized. Old branches have been renovated, several new branches have opened, and new educational material is being published.

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Suing Nippon Steel - update

As many of you know, the General Union is suing Nippon Steel Sumikin Intercom (NSSI) over the illegal dismissal of two workers. At first the company claimed restructuring, however we have found evidence of the company advertising positions that our members could have done.

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A Christmas for Everyone

Christmas is for everyone. It may seem a little early to write about Christmas now, but at this time in 2013 Gaba Corporation were planning last year’s company Christmas party. Unfortunately instructors were not invited, which the union officially protested in negotiations with the company. Consequently, in June the union asked the company to invite instructors this time.

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Berlitz Branch Officers and Representatives

Joe M. (Chair - Umeda)

As a long term employee at Berlitz I take great interest in the direction of the company and the well being of my colleagues.

Being branch chair allows me to represent our members and ensure our voice is heard on an even footing.

 

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Achim R . (Nagoya)

Coming soon. Coming soon. Coming soon. Coming soon. Coming soon. Coming soon. Coming soon. Coming soon.

 

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Jools C. (Umeda)

I joined the General Union in 2002 and have witnessed some fundamental improvements in working conditions due to persistent union activity.

Our union brings change that goes far beyond the workplace and has a direct impact on society.

This keeps me focused on our overall long term goals.

 

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Ricky B. (Sannomiya, Ashiya, Nishinomiya & Hiroshima)

Hi, My name is Ricky and I have been with Berlitz since January 2000.

In that time I have seen many changes both beneficial and not so for employees and staff.

Recently I decided to step up to the plate and join the General Union as I felt the changes were now more detrimental to a suitable working environment for staff and teachers.

As an executive officer and local representative for Sannomiya, Ashiya & Nishinomiya I am here for you.

I strongly believe that a better working environment for staff and teachers is essential so don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or even wish to just chat about things in general.

My door and email address is always open for you.

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Ross R. (Umeda)

I’ve been with the union for over 10 years. 

I’m a member of the Berlitz Branch and work mainly in the Umeda Language Center.

I’m a strong believer in keeping workplace accountability to its employees high and the union has served that purpose well. 

I’m happy to listen to your workplace concerns and pass them along to the right person.

Minerva Language Institute Labour Commission Case Settled

On March 18, 2014, the union lodged an unfair labour practice case against Minerva Language Institute (Minerva) for failing to negotiate at the Osaka Labour Relations Commission.

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