News

The Reality of Convenience Stores

Recently, Seven-Eleven Japan notified the Chair of the Japan Association of Convenience Store Franchisee's Union (the "Konbini Kamei-ten Yunion", or "CU"), a union comprised of convenience store operators and employees, that it would refuse to renew his contract with the company, effectively firing him. This action has shocked the members of the CU, who have decried it as "blatant union-busting".

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Nova Manager Apologizes After Official Union Complaint

Recently, drama erupted at NOVA after a student accused a teacher - a member of the General Union - of being involved in a torrid affair with another NOVA staff member. The accusation was baseless, as no relationship of a romantic nature existed between the teacher and the member of staff. However, the way that NOVA handled the situation left much to be desired.

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Absences or lateness due to typhoon weather

The union has been asked about this issue. Over this week there was very heavy rain across Japan making travel in some areas dangerous due to the passing typhoons. The union believes that instructors shouldn't be penalised because of any lateness or absences due to this extreme weather.

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Emergency Drills To Be Held At GABA "More Often"

At GABA, the last evacuations practised at learning studios were conducted two years ago, at only a small number of locations, with few instructors taking part.

While there are posters in Learning Studios advising what to do in the event of a disaster, there has been little real education or preparation to give instructors experience in knowing what to do or how to handle the situation when - not if - an earthquake occurs.

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Privacy Protection - Companies: Think Before You Click

At the end of August, 2015, a "Head Teacher" of one of the largest dispatch companies in Japan sent out a newsletter in which he pasted the e-mail address of every recipient into the "TO:" field instead of the "CC:" field, thus revealing the private e-mail addresses of everyone that the e-mail was intended for to everyone who received it.

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We Just Won A Refrigerator! (Seriously!)

As you may know, the General Union is comprised of many different branches. One of these branches is our Shinobu Branch, representing workers who are employed by Shinobu Foods Products Co., Ltd. which - as their name suggests - manufactures and sells food products in Japan.

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Computers In The Workplace - Poll Results

On July 30th, the GENERAL UNION reported that it had won a salary increase and new computers for its members at Osaka Kun-ei Women's College. ("Kun'ei Teachers Win Computers and Pay Rise": http://tinyurl.com/pngfjuh)

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ECC Mediation Update 2015/08/25

 

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Issues@LCs

Something not right at your LC? Do you think there is something happening that needs to be reported? Is it important enough to let everyone know about it? Here is the place. Just send an email to mcvay(@)generalunion.org (remove brackets). We will contact you and go from there.  

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes... Teacher Turnover at Berlitz

What is a company's most important asset? Is it the cash in its bank account? Nope, not even close! How about the building or location that a company is located in? Sorry, no dice! What about the company's president? Even they are nowhere near as important to a company’' success when compared to its employees.

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Declaration of the 2015 Osaka Zenrokyo Annual General Meeting

As well as fighting to win every one of our disputes, let’s stand in opposition to the gutting of the Dispatch Act, to the Zero Overtime Bill, to the legislation of “collective self-defense”. Let’s stop the out-of-control rampage of the Abe government and the moneyed interests. Let’s fight to build a society where workers can have peace of mind.

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Honest Mistake? Thieves? Only Time Will Tell...

Recently, the GENERAL UNION was contacted for assistance in a matter involving a Kansai-based "International" Kindergarten and a not inconsiderable amount of unpaid salary owed to one of their former teachers.

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Takatsuki City and the Difference Between Truth and Lies

You may already know that the GENERAL UNION is now in the midst of a fight against the Takatsuki city government and Board of Education (BOE) on the issue of the rights of Assistant English Teachers (AET).

One of the issues is whether AETs are legally "employees" or not.

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On employers, lies and laws – more lessons from Takatsuki BoE

In a law-abiding country, everybody (without exception) should follow the law - even if you do not agree with it. However, the behavior of Takatsuki city officials and its BoE that AETs at Takatsuki have seen and experienced are very different from the actions of a law-abiding government.

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Kansai Gaidai Branch Spreads the News

The GENERAL UNION has had many battles, won many victories, solved many problems, and protected the rights of thousands of members and non-members alike throughout its long history.

A recent organizing leafleting at KANSAI GAIDAI University in Hirakata, Osaka, is further evidence of our resolve to continue to carry the fight onwards.

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Kun'ei teachers win computers and pay rises

First the computers. That's right. Computers. Four shiny new Apple computers for union members, after many years of having to supply their own. Our members couldn't believe their eyes when they were delivered. It's not something you usually see in the union news, but material conditions at work are things that the union can negotiate for and win. Often when members are sitting down to consider demands, especially when pay and other working conditions are not too bad, we often forget the physical environment in which we work. Bigger desks? Better lockers? Computers? Research funds? These are all things that you should consider, even though they are often considered to be 'non-traditional' demands, but they are things which can improve your work performance and your physical comfort at work.

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Survey Results - Gaba Corporation emergency preparation

Recently the GU branch did a survey about emergency preparations at Gaba to see how instructors felt about the situation. The results were alarming.

0% of instructors received emergency training during initial certification (training) at Gaba.

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Gaba Home Study – Client’s Perspective is NOT mandatory

There has been some discussion about whether the current Mindflash training offered by Gaba is mandatory. While the GU believes that it is good for instructors to do training to help them teach as well as possible, the training is NOT mandatory.

Some instructors have been under the impression that it is, or that their schedule may be blocked if they do not do the training. This is not the case, and if instructors have any problems they are most welcome to contact the union about this.

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The ultimate ECC mediation FAQ: What is mediation, anyways??

1. What happens at mediation?

The union, the company, and members of the Labor Commission will meet, both together and separately to discuss our demand for a 5% pay raise. There are three mediators, a labour-side, company-side, and public commissioner. Often they will move back and forth between the company and the union with different proposals. Sometimes they may even offer their own proposal to both parties.

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GENERAL UNION helps Osaka CNET win Workers Accident Insurance

Accidents and injuries can happen to anyone, in any place, and they can happen to you. However, if an accident happens to you while you're at work, there is something you can do about it.

A  CNET, directly employed by Osaka City Board of Education, suffered a sudden and unexpected injury while working at school, and had to learn about accidents and the laws about accident compensation the hard way.

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Has Your Company Banned Your Laptop?

In Miyagi Prefecture, one major dispatch company has been informing its High School instructors that the Miyagi Prefectural Board of Education has told them that ALTs are NOT permitted to take their personal laptop (or tablets, etc) to their assigned schools.

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Lessons learned in the fight at Takatsuki Board of Education

On Tax

Although we are now in the midst of the fight against Takatsuki BoE, the union and AETs have learned various concrete lessons in this fight of more than a year. Some of these lessons will be of help foreign and Japanese workers alike. For this purpose, we will share these lessons one by one. This time, about tax.

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Ritsumeikan University changes part-time employment system

ContractRitsumeikan University has decided to make major changes to its part-time employment system. The revised  Labour Contract Renewal law that was passed in 2012 gives, limited term contract workers who have been employed continuously for over five years from April 2013,  the right to an unlimited contract if the worker requests it. 

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Two wins for Ichishin cram school workers

On June 25th, the Tokyo Labor Relations Commission ruled in favor of the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Tobu, Ichishin Gakuin Local, finding that Ichishin Gakuin, a major cram school, illegal refused to extend the annual contracts of two union members and refused to allow the union president to teach a class, in an attempt to weaken the union.

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We want to talk! We want to teach! We don't want to strike!

It’s been a very busy time at the General Union ECC branch. 

Despite repeated attempts to meet with the ECC management informally, we have been rebuffed at every step.

Our goal is a fair pay increase for all members and members of course will consider any offer made, but ECC has made NO offer to the union.

While we are prepared to go on strike in July, members desperately want to settle this issue with no disruption. So on Wednesday, 24 June union officials went to the Osaka Labour Commission for help. We filed an application for mediation. This means that if ECC agrees we can continue negotiations with the help of the mediators at the labour commission.

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Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease & The Case For Paid Sick Leave

The GENERAL UNION has received news that an outbreak of "Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease" (HFMD) - a highly contagious intestinal virus that children in particular are at risk from - has been reported at a notable "international school".

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ECC Pay Increases - Does Not Compute

Don’t let them debase the labor laws and increase death from overwork! Zenrokyo opposes the “zero overtime bill” and the amendments to the Workers Dispatch Law

Overshadowed by the talk in the mass media about the Diet debate over the Security (War) Bill, the lower-house Welfare and Labor Committee has begun discussions aimed at amending--worsening--the Dispatch Law. There was a movement to push it through the Diet early in June. This move was halted when the sudden problems happened with illegal access at the Pension Organization and leaking of personal data, but it will come up again soon anyway.

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Another win in our fight against Takastuki Board of Education

As we prepare to meet Takatsuki BoE representatives across the table at the Osaka Labor Commission in a few days, we have received notice of one victory.

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Disasters at Gaba Corporation

You are a Gaba Kids instructor. You have a shy five year old boy next to you who knows a lot of animal names and can count to 30 and reply to English greetings. You arrived in Japan six months ago and can barely speak any Japanese. An earthquake hits, your first.

The building shakes, the flimsy partition walls sway. You look at the glass above you and wonder - will it break? Someone told you a booth exploded in Omiya LS during the March 11th earthquake.

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