News

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

Job Security for ECC teachers

Winning enrollment in shakai hoken "Employees' Health and Pension" was a huge victory for members working at ECC providing them and their families with the protection that it is standard for full time workers. More teachers are now staying at ECC longer, but job security is limited to a one-year contract.

Read more...

Gaba Assures Union: "We are Determined To Improve Working Conditions"

On Monday March 5th 2013 the General Union Gaba branch held our first collective bargaining session of the year with Gaba.

Five members and three union representatives attended, and we made it clear that we expected improvements, and ultimately, the company said that they were "determined to improve conditions" for instructors, and that they were considering increasing the TNT bonus and the per lesson pay rate.

Read more...

It’s a matter of dignity – Opinion Piece

I work at one of the "better" high schools. It is that is basically a feeder school to a few universities in the Kansai region. As a part-timer, or hijokin in Japanese, I am treated well enough. I'm even enrolled in health and pension insurance.

All that changed this week as I attempted to prepare for the new semester. With a rebuilding program almost completed, we moved into new classrooms and offices.

Read more...

Wearing jackets – What you said

Back in December we asked the question "Does wearing a jacket make you a better teacher?" In 2 months we had a total of 138 respondents and the answer was a resounding "No". All 138 people said that jackets have no bearing on the quality of teaching.

Read more...

YOUR rights are at risk!

ECC wants to restrict your private lives, and dictate who you can socialize with. Your personal rights are endangered. Now’s a good time to support yourself and your colleagues in fighting for our basic human rights. Being a member protects YOU and your working conditions. Say NO to ECC management’s proposed “no-socialization with students” policy. The union is concerned that you could be disciplined, non-renewed or even fired for:

Read more...

Berlitz - Report of November collective bargaining

1. CTL Courtesy Calls
We have been told that MIs will be asked to inform the office staff to tell teachers about CTLs when possible. We wish to see if this is happening. Please let us know if you are not informed about your CTLs.

Read more...

Bettering life at Berlitz since 1993

Did you know that many of the working conditions that teachers now enjoy have been negotiated between the General Union and Berlitz?

Read more...

Berlitz collective bargaining - November 2012

  1. A courtesy call when lessons are cancelled late. We have been told that ISs will be asked to inform the staff to tell teachers about CTL lessons when possible. We wish to see if this is happening. Please let us know if you are not informed about your CTLs.

2. Allowing all teachers to participate in training seminars and workshops. ISs will be informed to let all teachers know about upcoming training and to allow teachers to participate if it fits into the LC’s training budget. Let us know if you’re being informed.

Read more...

Berlitz union wins raise, bonus in suit settlement (Japan Times)

¥110 million claim against teachers, union execs dropped, ending four-year fight

The four-year legal battle between management and teachers at Berlitz Japan was declared over Thursday as both sides signed an agreement to end the company's lawsuit against union officials.

Read more...

ECC teachers demand job security, pay rises

Branch members at ECC have submitted demands for unlimited term contracts for those seeking more permanent type employment, contract completion bonuses for those who are on one year contracts and a 10% pay increase for all teachers.

Read more...

Does wearing a jacket make you a better teacher?

Some language schools, including AEON and Gaba, have policies that either require teachers to wear a jacket, or at least heavily encourages it. ECC even tried to link salary increases to wearing a jacket, however, through negotiations members were able to have "wearing a jacket" removed from their evaluations.

Read more...

Peppy Kids Club fires branch chair - union moves into action

After eight years of service, the chair of our newly formed union branch at Peppy English Kids Club has been fired for union activity. The company will claim it is a simple case of “contract non-renewal” for poor performance amongst other things, but after eight years and eight consecutive contracts, the union strongly believes it is an illegal firing under Japanese Trade Union Law.

Read more...

Ex-Nova language school founder Sahashi's two-year prison term finalized

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by the founder and former president of the language school chain Nova Corp. against his conviction for embezzling ¥320 million from employee benefit funds, effectively finalizing his two-year prison term.

Read more...

Being an ALT in Japan - The Video Handbook

The General Union is producing a video handbook for working in Japan as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher). We'll be covering topics such as taxes, health insurance, housing, and workplace issues.

Feel free to email us if you would like your questions answered alt(@)generalunion.org.

Berlitz demands submitted for collective bargaining

Union members at Berlitz sent seven new demands for collective bargaining to Berlitz Japan this week.

Demands include:

1. A courtesy call when lessons are cancelled late.
Teachers are now paid for these CTL (cancelled too late) classes, but because teachers don't always teach their lessons in a row, they may end up at school at 8AM just to find the class cancelled and their next class not until noon.

Read more...

Peppy Kids Club Confidentiality Agreement

iTTTi Japan recently asked Japanese teachers at Peppy Kids Club to sign a confidentiality clause that we believe to be invalid, with some clauses bearing little likelihood of being enforceable.

Read more...

ECC Union News October 2012

Halloween Costumes ECC has agreed to provide basic Halloween costumes at all schools. The union has asked ECC to explain what will be provided by October 20. ECC has sent all schools an email advising them that costumes should be available. If your schools are not providing a costume please contact the union.

Read more...

Working in an elementary, junior, senior high school?

For many years the General Union has organised workers at private elementary, junior and senior high schools. In the recent period the situation in many of these workplaces has become dire and we have had many consultations and requests for help from teachers. While as a union we have been able to win individual victories and defend conditions for groups of our members, working conditions have continued to deteriorate for teachers across the sector.

Read more...

Berlitz teachers get ready for new demands!

Berlitz teachers in the Kansai and Tokai areas are continuing consultations with union members to gear up for a new round of demands and negotiations.

At this point most of the demands focus around workplace issues that make teachers' working lives a little easier.

Read more...

Panasonic teachers keep their eye on the ball

After an important round of bargaining in July of this year where some important promises were made by the employer to the union, members are undeterred to still improve their economic situation.

Read more...

Tokai Branch Meeting & Elections - Oct 14

Members of the Tokai Branch are requested to attend our branch meeting as follows. The first part of the meeting, at 1:30pm, will include general business such as elections.

It will be followed by a Workplace Rights Q & A Workshop at 3pm. It is open to members and the general public.

Read more...

Gaba Union Branch Demands

Our demands are simple: Improve our working conditions

Read more...

What you're missing out on

Go to any GABA orientation and they're quick to point out to you the freedom of picking your own working hours and choosing your own holidays. They don't underline the clear fact that even though you can pick your own schedule (as part timers do in any job) they have no obligation to you to provide lessons or pay during that time. In fact your open schedule allows GABA to sell a wide range of lesson availability to students without having to pay for this drawing card.

Read more...

What can you do?

The General Union has made real improvements in the working conditions of teachers at other schools, such as ECC and YMCA. While it is true we are all free to look for another job, most likely it will be another job with little security or benefits, and with a similar set of problems. So why not play a part to make Gaba a better place to work for everyone - you, me and the instructors who will come after us?

Read more...

How do your conditions compare?

We've heard many complaints from GABA teachers regarding their wages, and let's face it, ¥1500 for 40 minutes' work is not much money in an industry and company that makes money.

Do GABA teachers enjoy the same pay and other fringe benefits? Let's examine.

Read more...

Support your Japanese coworkers

As many of you know, working conditions at Peppy Kids Club are much worse for JTs than they are for NTs. Their salaries are much lower, they work longer hours, they don't even get unemployment insurance. And from October, things are getting worse.

Read more...

ALTs Open Meeting - October 21

For the first time, we are opening our Osaka October General Meeting to non-members.

We will be holding a series of seminars, or workshops, about the law and workers' rights. There will also be a meeting aimed specifically for ALTs. It is open to members and non-members alike.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

Additional information