Osaka C-NETs seek to improve working conditions

After months of preparation, we are happy to announce the formation of our new union branch at Osaka City Board of Education. Known as Osaka C-NETs, the branch consists of Native English Teachers (NETS) who teach alongside Japanese English teachers.

Newly established in August 2013, the Cnet program is an initiative of the Osaka City mayor, Hashimoto. Knowing his anti-worker stances, the union felt it important to try and organize teachers earlier, rather than later.

Once the city had completed the hiring process, it turned out there were already three union members amongst the more than 100 ALTs hired. This gave us an inside into working conditions – the good and bad. And while the conditions are much better than those of most dispatch ALTs, there is little job security for these direct hire ALTs, with a maximum of only 3 years employment. This, and other conditions, is significantly worse when compared to NETs at Osaka-fu who have won job security with unlimited contract renewals.

One of the most shocking things was the failure of the Board of Education to ensure that all teachers received a health check. This is in violation of two laws – the Education Law, and the Industrial Safety and Health Law. Why is this so important? Some of you may not know but Japan, and Osaka specifically, has the highest incidence of tuberculosis in the industrialized world. As a result, the Japanese Education Law stipulates that both teachers and students must receive x-rays annually to help keep the disease under control. Once negotiations are under way we will be insisting this important health check be given immediately, for the protection of students and teachers alike.

Members from the branch, and union headquarters, will be meeting with officials from the Board of Education this afternoon to officially hand over notice of the branch declaration, and demands for collective bargaining. You can read more on our demands here.

 


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