News

ECC Teachers Strike: Pay Freeze NO! Pay Raise YES!

After several rounds of Collective Bargaining with ECC, members in Chubu and Kansai were left with no option but to start industrial action and strike on Saturday, May 31st. The union had been negotiating with ECC management over Pay Increases, Annual Contract Completion Bonuses, Job Security, Teacher Evaluations and more. As Collective Bargaining proceeded ECC`s answers went from bad to worse.

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Coco Juku ordered to pay up

As a result of General Union demands, Nichii Gakkan, Coco Juku’s parent company, has ordered Coco Juku to follow Article 23 of the Labor Standards Law. Full details were sent to the union in official documents on May 7.

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Kansai International School forced to pay

Kansai International School/Sakura International School is notorious for its paid holiday system. Now someone has finally done something about it.

After consulting the union, one teacher applied to use her remaining paid holidays when resigning from the company. This is your right. Rather than being intimidated by the company’s refusal to pay and stopping there, the teacher took action.

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Privacy protection - You don't need to let Gaba staff photograph your ID with their own phone

We like to think that we're all pretty tech savy, security conscious and not easily led. That being said, I know how easy it can be to agree to something that makes you feel a little uneasy, just to avoid the hassle of kicking up a fuss.

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Gaba Branch Spring Party 2014 - Spring Smash!

On Sunday April 13th the Gaba branch had its fifth social event in the last 18 months. We held our first Christmas party at The Pink Cow in Roppongi in December 2012, then Hanami in Yoyogi Park in April 2013. We then relocated to What The Dickens in Ebisu, a great British pub and live space only a few minutes from Ebisu station.

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March scramble for classes

A large number of university and high school teachers are part-time workers. And as you know, the annual ritual of waiting around to hear about new schedules can be a nerve racking time. Will you receive the same number of classes? Will the school try to change your working days? What will you be teaching? Will the schedule from School A be available in time to arrange your schedule at School B?

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Harassing Gaba clients can be blocked - Here is how:

Many instructors are not aware that clients can be blocked, and think that they simply have to put up with bad treatment. This impression leads to problems, particularly in regards to sexual harassment from clients.  

It is now well established that the quality of support that instructors receive when reporting incidents of sexual harassment is patchy at best. As such, the union brought it up as an issue in 2013 negotiations and has been pursuing the issue ever since.

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General Union Gaba Branch appoints Sexual Harassment Officers

In response to a number of incidents where Gaba instructors had been sexually harassed by clients, the union decided to investigate the issue, and conducted a survey to gauge the prevalence. 

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Protecting personal information at Gaba

The union had received reports that some Gaba staff have not been following the company’s procedures and protecting instructors' information adequately.

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Gaba lesson record Mindflash training: "NOT mandatory"

In case instructors were wondering, despite the impression given by the latest MGI post on March 18th, the Mindflash training for the new lesson record system is not mandatory, and instructors cannot be forced to do it. If you receive any coercion to do so, please report it to the union so we can take up the case.

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Fast-tracking unfair labor practice case against Minerva (BL Kids International School)

After an early morning secretariat meeting today, two union officers are busy preparing documentation to lodge an unfair labor practice case against Minerva.  We expect to be able to file the case at the Osaka Prefectural Labor Commission by lunchtime tomorrow.

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Teaching math at Coco Juku?

Coco Juku is a new eikaiwa/English school chain that launched with a lot of fanfare in 2013. It is owned by Nichi Gakkan, that also happens to own Gaba.

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No pay increases at ECC – Yet!

All instructors should be aware that ECC will be mailing out your new contracts shortly. Please note that you will not be advised of your hourly pay increase. Unlike other years, ECC has prolonged negotiations.

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Berlitz members meet to plan bargaining strategy

Standard - negotiateGeneral Union members at Berlitz will meet this Sunday, 16 February to plan their third round of collective bargaining. Current demands include a 7% pay increase, pay for lock ups, union representation at disciplinary hearings, and pay for work done before, between, and after lessons; along with others.

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Making a good job better - 2013 In Review

2013 was a very good year for the General Union Gaba branch. It was different to all previous years for the agreements that we managed to make with the company and in the amount of social activities we organized to bring instructors together. We’re looking forward to making 2014 another year where we make a good job better – and we would love to have your help.

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ECC Branch: Some of our many achievements

The General Union and ECC have been negotiating for nearly 20 years. The latest Labour Agreement won as part of the 2013 Shunto (Spring Offensive) gives union members more protection against non-renewal. ECC has signed off on renewing members’ contracts unless there are exceptional reasons. This is a huge victory as contract renewals have been a long term concern for members.

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Santa wants to know why!

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Gaba's Slap in the Face to Instructors

Gaba Corporation has decided to hold a year-end party at Tokyo’s prestigious Imperial Hotel for all their Kanto region staff, and as such they have closed all 30 Kanto Learning Studios for the last three lessons on Sunday December 15th.

Unfortunately, you, I and the thousand or so other instructors are not invited.

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Improving workers' lives at Berlitz since 1993

Many of the working conditions that you now enjoy have been negotiated between the General Union and Berlitz:

  • Enrollment in Unemployment Insurance for MG teachers.
  • Enrollment in Health and Pension Insurance (shakai hoken) for those working 30+ hours per week.
  • Paid holidays for MG and per lesson teachers. (collective agreements 1994 & 1999)
  • Premium pay of 25% overtime and 35% for work on a set rest day.(collective agreement 1994)
  • Right to refuse work on a set rest day or national holiday(collective agreement 1996)
  • Pre-consultation agreement with the union before terminating, transferring or changing the working conditions of any union member.(collective agreement 1994)
  • Grievances dealing with dismissals, health insurance, unfair treatment of teachers.

 

 

Third strike at Osaka Gaigo leads to mediation application

How do you deal with an employer that is like a deer frozen in your headlights in the middle of a highway? Welcome to Osaka Gaigo Senmon Gakko.

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ECC and Gaba hold Christmas parties; teachers considered second class and not invited

Two of the largest English School chains, Gaba and ECC, have held, or are about to hold Christmas parties. Unfortunately, regular teachers/instructors are not invited! The companies have invited both school and office staff in appreciation of their hard work but fail to recognize the hard work put in by teachers. ECC teachers were left to look at pictures of a luxury hotel party posted on Facebook by their coworkers.

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Gaba Branch Update - November 2013

October was a very sad and unusual month for the General Union Gaba Branch, with the disappearance of member Pascal Burel while hiking. The branch had never experienced anything like this before, but Pascal's fellow members, friends and coworkers rallied around to raise money and spread the word about the search. While the situation is very bad, and we hope nothing like this ever occurs again, the union managed to play a role in raising the profile of the case and helping to financially support the search.

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"Unexcused" absences: Cold and Flu season at Gaba

'Twas the night before Christmas, and in every LS,

We could hear the sound of instructors trying to suppress,

Their coughing and sniffling with the greatest of care,

Thinking to themselves that this wasn’t quite fair.

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OTC - Organizing drive begins

OTC members have been busy writing a new leaflet outlining the branches achievements over the past few years at OTC. We've done well - health and pension insurance, unemployment insurance, paid FLEXIBLE annual leave, as well as solving a host of individual grievances such as study leave, resignation procedures etc.

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How much?

 

That was the average summer bonus for a shokuin/seishain at ECC this year.

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Even a typhoon won't stop our organizing campaign at Peppy Kids Club

Call us crazy but even a typhoon won't get in the way of our new organizing campaign at Peppy Kids Club/iTTTi Japan.

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General Union and Gaba Corporation sign grievance procedure agreement

Under the Trade Union Law, companies in Japan must hold collective bargaining with unions. But they are not legally required to deal with individual problems raised by employees. In other words, if you wanted to legally ensure that you were heard at Gaba you needed to submit collective bargaining requests through the union, decide on a date, then spare a day, have a prior-approved agenda, a translator, and approximately six volunteers to argue your case.

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Union demands members' contracts be renewed at Nippon Steel & Sumikin Intercom

Nippon Steel & Sumikin Intercom has answered union demands in the negative, stating that union members' contracts will not be renewed. The union members have more than 15 years of service. Revisions to the Labour Contract Law in August 2012 now make it necessary for employers to have social acceptable reasons for non-renewing contracts that have been renewed several times.

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Osaka Gaigo: Strike 2

Standard - gaigo strikeOn October the 10th eleven members of the General Union and Naniwa union working at Osaka Gaigo Senmon Gakko staged a half day strike for a 5% pay increase and a bonus payment of at least one months wages twice yearly. The strike united Japanese and foreign workers, office workers and teachers and workers on temporary and permanent contracts.

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Gaba Branch Update - October 2013

The Gaba branch is always busy working on various issues to improve the working lives of instructors. Some issues are large, such as overall pay rates and conditions. Others are smaller, and may only deal with a situation being faced by only one instructor. But all of them are important, and instructors who are experiencing any difficulties in their work at Gaba are encouraged to contact the union.

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