News

ALTs - Have you received a health check?

Some dispatch companies, but not all, provide annual health checks. Japan has one of the highest rates of tuberculous in the western world, and as a result, School Health & Safety Law mandates that teachers must be tested yearly.

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Small but important issues solved at Peppy Kids Club

It is often the small things that make our working lives difficult. That was the case for teachers in some areas at PKC. After the first round of negotiations, we are happy to announce that two issues have been solved.

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Members Demand Peppy Obey Article 106 of the Labor Standards Law

So what is Article 106?

The law basically states that companies must have a set of working rules (Shugyo Kisoku). These rules must be registered with the Labor Standards Office, and they must be available for workers to peruse in their workplace. These rules are usually more in-depth than the rules written into your contract or guidelines the company give you. They include things such as how to apply for vacation or special leave, and rules for the punishment, fining, or dismissal of employees.

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Report on negotiations at Peppy Kids

In July, when the union applied for the first round of negotiations, we were a little taken aback when a response came from the company’s lawyer. While they accepted collective bargaining on the company’s behalf, it is unusual for companies to bring in lawyers so quickly. Generally, companies want to get a feel for the union and what members want before they bring lawyers along for legal advice.

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Coolbiz: A Health Hazard?

Most workers welcome the introduction of Coolbiz, and the relaxed summer dress codes. It was a buzz work for work efficiency and economic stimulus during Junichiro Koizumi’s reign as Prime Minister. However, times have now changed and the majority of businesses have implemented Coolbiz as part of setsuden, (energy saving measures), and offices are no longer cool.

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Osaka Information Meeting - Peppy Kids

More and more people, Japanese and native teachers alike, are contacting us about the union. We will be holding a series of open meetings so people can hear more about the union and what our aims are. It will also be a chance for you ask questions and give input about how you would like to see working conditions at PKC improve.

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Nagoya Information Meeting - Peppy Kids

More and more people, Japanese and native teachers alike, are contacting us about the union. We will be holding a series of open meetings so people can hear more about the union and what our aims are. It will also be a chance for you ask questions and give input about how you would like to see working conditions at PKC improve. Contact us if you would like a meeting in your area.

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Taking back our rights! Open meeting for school teachers

For many years the General Union has had members at Elementary, Junior High and High Schools. More recently, the situation has become dire with a large number of consultations from private schools in particular. The falling number of school age students has led to a savage competition between schools, in particular private schools. School administrations have attempted to compete by-and-large by asking for longer hours and more commitment from teachers, while at the same time often worsening pay and conditions.

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Union launched at Peppy Kids Club

While Peppy Kids Club doesn’t have the national profile of some other players in the language industry, they have been on the union’s radar for quite a few years. They are an expanding chain with over 400 native English-speaking teachers and more than 1600 Japanese teachers. They have classrooms all across Japan and almost 100,000 students.

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ECC teachers demand permanent contracts

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ECC typhoon: Not safe for students, but safe for staff?

Workplace health and safety is a General Union priority. While most workplace accidents at language schools are minor, we as workers must not become complacent. We have the right to expect that our employers will do their utmost to protect our safety at work and while traveling to and from work.

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Letter from America about Peppy Kids

I am no longer an employee of Peppy Kids. However, it warms my heart that there is such action being taken to create a worker's union. I am an American citizen back in America now, but I still very much love Japan. I left Peppy Kids club, but I strongly feel that if there was a union in place, me and other people that I know would still be actively employed with Peppy Kids. As an American, I know that many Americans take for granted the progresses that were made as a result of union interventions in the U.S. workplace throughout history.

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August 19, Okayama Meeting For Peppy Kids Teachers

More and more people, Japanese and native teachers alike, are contacting us about the union. We will be holding a series of open meetings so people can hear more about the union and what our aims are. It will also be a chance for you ask questions and give input about how you would like to see working conditions at PKC improve.

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General Union members gear up for third annual 'hands off our koma' campaign

Now is the time of the year that the major private universities are planning changes in curricula and classes for the 2013 academic year. For the last couple of years the General Union has been declaring part-time members at these universities and submitting demands for no-reduction in the number of koma or worsening of working conditions for General Union members.

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Branch declared, demands submitted, negotiations August 6

The union has officially declared our new branch to management at Peppy Kids Club. Our members include both Japanese and foreign teachers alike, and we seek to improve the working conditions of all employees at Peppy.

The first round of negotiations will take place in Nagoya on August 6. Mr Katsuji Yamahara will represent the union, along with teachers working at PKC. If you are a member and would like to attend, please contact us for further information.

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ECC Union History - 1996 ALP Win

February 26, 1996 General Union ECC Branch declared. The first demands were:

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Take the ECC Typhoon Survey

The union is far from impressed with ECC's latest decision to keep teachers and staff at schools as Typhoon Guchol approached the Japanese coastline. Out of concerns for student safety, all classes in the Kinki district were cancelled. However, employee safety does not seem to be a priority for ECC, with all full-time teachers and staff ordered to stay at schools despite classes having been cancelled.

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Panasonic Excel teachers demand job security and pay increases

General Union members working at Panasonic Excel have submitted new demands for collective bargaining and hope to begin negotiations in July. Teachers joined the union in 2002 when they had unilaterally been moved from one employer to another inside the then Matsushita group and suffering a massive pay cut.

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Strike vote first, then negotiate

Last week the union had a great round of negotiations at one of the workplaces we represent. We can't put out all the details yet, but we can tell you a little.

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Working at Peppy Kids Club?

Teachers at Peppy Kids Club are getting ready to launch a union. We want your input. The union is open to both foreign and Japanese staff alike. We believe that if both groups work together conditions can be improved. Please encourage your JTs to take the survey too. 働き方アンケート

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Ashiya Gakuen teachers organize to protect their rights

In October of last year a number of full-time English teachers at Ashiya Gakuen High School joined the General Union and formed a union branch at their school. Teachers had read in the school's recruitment literature for next year that for certain courses the school planned to have native English speakers as homeroom teachers.

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More reason to join than ever

The General Union GABA branch was established in 2007. With the recent change of ownership and management at the company, we are looking forward to better things in the future. In April, the union and GABA signed an agreement resolving the various legal cases that have been filed over the last few years. GABA has also agreed to negotiate in good faith to improve working conditions. The first negotiating session was held on May 28th 2012.

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Union wins Special Leave at ECC

The General Union has negotiated the introduction of Special Leave for full-time instructors. You can now take the following unpaid special leave on application to personnel.

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Joining the GU: Now more than ever, no time to waste

DON’T WAIT FOR A PROBLEM TO JOIN: THE TIME IS NOW! One person’s problem could very well become yours in the near future; this may sound cliché, but it is very true indeed.

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Workers' rights to strike upheld Court denies all of Berlitz Japan's claims against union

During 2008’s shunto spring labour offensive, Berlitz General Union Tokyo (Begunto) demanded the first base pay increase in 16 years and began a long-term surgical strike campaign. 

Berlitz management, however, claimed the strike’s purpose was to hurt the company rather than realize the demands, and sued the parent union, National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu; Begunto; Nambu President;  Deputy General Secretary; and five Begunto executives for alleged damages of 110 million yen.

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Hanami Party, Sunday April 8th - 1pm

It's that time of year again - time for getting together and enjoying spring at our annual Hamami party by the river. This year we are having Brazilian BBQ!

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ECC School Director Evaluation Changes - Take the online survey

ECC is proposing changes to the contents of school director evaluations. The union believes that the consensus of all employees at ECC is necessary to implement the changes.

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GABA Does About Face: Rehires Branch Chair, Drops Lawsuits

In October 2011, as GABA was taken over by Nichii Gakkan, management decided to do a spot of union-busting and fired Francis Strange, the chair of the GU GABA branch. This was in addition to previously suing the union for 58 million yen for libel, plus suing the Japanese government for recognizing instructors as employees.

We are now happy to report that things are moving in the union’s favor. Firstly, GABA’s claim of libel against the union was found to be baseless, with the case being dismissed on 15 November 2011.

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Anti-Nuclear Power Parade (Nagoya, Saturday March 10)

Aichi Zenrokyo, our local union federation, has asked that the General Union Tokai branch come along and show their support at a parade against nuclear power.

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ECC Shunto "Spring" Negotiations Update

The first round of the shunto "spring" negotiations were held on Feb 28. ECC has agreed to the majority of the union's 2012 demands.

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