News

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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ECC Union Meeting in Nagoya, Sunday October 6th

New to ECC? New to Nagoya? Interested in finding out more about your union? Come along to the ECC union meeting and meet the Nagoya branch reps, non-members are more than welcome.

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Branch declared at Nippon Steel & Sumikin Intercom

On September 30, General Union members working at Nippon Steel & Sumikin Intercom declared a union branch. Members with over 15 years of service with the company are concerned about their job security and worsening working conditions. The company has already implemented salary cuts for teachers and hinting at non-renewing teachers contracts.

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A new wave of union activism in GU Berlitz branch

After the biggest union meeting of Berlitz union members at the end of August, the union has submitted demands to raise wages, protect part time teachers from arbitrary cuts in lessons taught, and to make sure that Berlitz teachers are paid for all the work they do.

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Kansai Gaidai - 15 out leafleting!

The past year has seen enormous growth in our branch at Kansai Gadai but members are keen to see numbers increase even more - there is strength in unity.

This morning, fifteen people were out spreading news of the union to non-members at the entrance to the university. Twelve Kansai Gaidai teachers were supported by three members of the General Union Executive Committee.

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Peppy Kids Club Strikes

Standard - on strikeSome time back, iTTTi Japan effectively fired our branch chair by non-renewing him after eight years at Peppy Kids Club. The grounds were flimsy at best and we believe it was for union activity. He was making progress in organizing Japanese teachers and the company was scared.

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August 2013 Gaba Negotiations - new issues covered

On Monday August 26, 2013 the Gaba Branch of the GU held negotiations with Gaba Corporation. Topics discussed included three main topics: paid training, a proper grievance procedure for dealing with workplace problems, and also the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace. 

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Union wins job back for fired disabled Nova teacher

Nova recently fired a long term employee, and union member, due to his disability. This was part of a series of actions harassing our member because he is disabled. Needing the job badly, our member had stood by as they cut his work hours 2 years running, along with cutting his shakai hoken (health insurance & pension).

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Collective agreement with ECC secures member employment

On July 29 2013, the General Union and ECC finalized a collective labour agreement over contract renewals. This new agreement gives union members extra protection from non-renewal and the new contract renewal guidelines introduced by ECC in April.

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Nova: Stop firing disabled workers!

EB is a long term employee of Nova. He was there when the bankruptcy happened. For some time now, he has had a neurological condition. It does not affect the quality of his lessons, nor has there been student complaints.

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Gaba Incentive Survey

For lessons from May 2013 onwards Gaba changed the incentive system. Two changes were made: the first was paying an additional 200 yen for morning weekday peak lessons (the F-peak incentive), this was a good increase for morning instructors, and Gaba and the General Union signed a collective agreement over it.

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Gaba pay increase - collective agreement signed

In an historic first, the General Union and Gaba Corporation have signed a collective agreement guaranteeing a pay increase. All instructors will now receive an extra 200 yen per lesson for the first three morning weekday lessons. This is a 13.3% increase for A-belt instructors, which are approximately half of Gaba's instructor workforce.

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11 July. Strike at Osaka Gaigo.

While Japanese and foreign members at Osaka Gaigo extended last week's strike deadline in hopes of a better offer from their employer by 9 July, management's weak offer will lead to a Thursday, 11 July strike.

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So, what has the union ever done for me?

The Gaba branch of the GU was founded in September 2007. It was founded by Gaba instructors, for Gaba instructors. After the branch was founded, and asked for improvements:

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Beware: ECC proposing flawed changes

This April, ECC management announced major changes to teachers' working conditions including new contract renewal guidelines and revisions to teachers' work codes.

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No Borders International School

 Having asked their employer to enroll them in health & pension (shakai hoken) and unemployment insurance, teachers became frustrated when No Borders insisted that teachers pay ridiculously high premiums. The premiums were so inflated that we suspect No Borders was attempting to have teachers pay the company's part of the premiums.

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A win at No Borders International School

Having asked their employer to enroll them in health & pension (shakai hoken) and unemployment insurance, teachers became frustrated when No Borders insisted that teachers pay ridiculously high premiums. The premiums were so inflated that we suspect No Borders was attempting to have teachers pay the company's part of the premiums.

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The 19 minute question

In the past, ECC teachers punched in and out using time cards. With the introduction of the IC system, teachers touching in or out, outside of the permitted time frame (19 minutes), results in a "system error". These “system errors” are not errors, but system flags that require a decision on whether to pay overtime.

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Job security at ECC...coming soon??

The General Union's campaigning for job security at ECC has seen some major changes. From this spring ECC will begin to introduce a system that allows some teachers to become seishain. Native teachers now have the opportunity to be promoted to seishain with recommendations from their supervisors.

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Take the Annual ECC Teachers' Survey

It's that time of year - time to take the Annual ECC Teacher's Survey. What do you think about the new SD evaluation? Are you happy with your salary increase? Many ECC employees get bonuses,shouldn't teachers? There's also controversy!

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General Union Gaba Branch Hanami

Following on from the Christmas party held in December last year, the branch decided to hold a Hanami party in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. It was the first event of this type that the branch had held, and despite some worrying weather in the days beforehand, the day itself was warm and sunny.

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Pay Negotiations at ECC

In line with ECC's improved financial state, the General Union submitted an across the board 10 percent pay raise demand for instructors.

From the beginning, ECC rejected the percentage increase submitted by the union but said they were prepared to offer pay increases for 2013. Pay raises will be based on individual performance and vary depending on district performance.

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