Maternity Harassment At One Board Of Education

Pregnancy is supposed to be a time of happiness and joy in a woman's life. It is also a time in which pregnant women have to be especially careful about their health, their finances, their work situation, and their relationships, as they make the journey towards motherhood.

This was the case for one woman who assumed that she had everything under control - until her employer, a Board of Education, informed her they would not allow her to take maternity leave. Instead of supporting her, the Board of Education decided that they would fire her.

Read more...

From The Archives: Youthful Adventures With Employment Term Limits In The 1990s

As is often the case with all things in life: sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. In this case, back in the 1990s, we landed somewhere in-between.

The Higashi-Osaka Board of Education had one of the earliest direct-hire programs in all of Japan (outside of JET, that is). It was, at the time, a great program; unfortunately, there was a one major problem: a 3-year term limit placed on employment AFTER teachers were employed.

Thus, in our infancy as a union, we set out to smash the term limit completely...

Read more...

Senri International Campus Set To Close Saturday School?

At the end of March, 2016, teachers who work on the special programs at Kwansei Gakuin’s Senri International Campus ("Saturday School" and the summer vacation "Just for Kids" program) were told that these programs would be closed from the end of March, 2018.

Read more...

Osaka City University's Threat To Outsource Its Own Teachers Invokes Union Intervention

Negotiate To WinIn March of this year (2016), sixteen part-time teachers at the Osaka City University (OCU) - located in Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, received new contracts to sign which had, unbeknownst to them, been changed from previous contracts to include a clause stating that THIS contract would be their final employment contract with the university.

Many teachers signed the contract - which was only given to them in Japanese - without realizing that the contract (which was, for all intents and purposes, otherwise identical to previous contracts) had been altered to include the new "final contract" clause.

In addition, the university abstained from verbally informing the teachers of the additional clause, perhaps hoping that they would not notice its inclusion...

Read more...

Otemon - Language Education Without Language Teachers

Otemon Gakuin High School is presently trying to non-renew all of its native speaker language teachers, using the excuse of a change in the curriculum.

We believe that this is because they wish to avoid giving these teachers permanent contracts under the revised Labour Contract Law from April 2018.

The General Union will vigorously oppose this attack.

Read more...

March scramble for classes

A large number of university and high school teachers are part-time workers. And as you know, the annual ritual of waiting around to hear about new schedules can be a nerve racking time. Will you receive the same number of classes? Will the school try to change your working days? What will you be teaching? Will the schedule from School A be available in time to arrange your schedule at School B?

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...

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...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

Do you work at a private high school, junior high school or elementary school?

Do you work at a private high, junior high, or elementary school? Are you concerned about your rights at work? Are you worried that falling student numbers will result in cuts in your classes? Many people have heard of the General Union’s work at conversation schools and universities; but did you know that our union also has a long history improving teachers’ rights at private schools?

Read more...

Hotoku Gakuen Roundup

Alarmed by the school’s decision to cut a lot of the Eikaiwa classes, and fearing the school would use it as a pretext to cut hours and pay, the General Union held collective bargaining on 21 November.

Read more...

Part-timers Left Uninsured In Cases Of Job Loss

Recently, the GU has been holding negotiations with a high school over the contract non-renewal of a union member. Though the teacher is only in her second year of employment (employed on one year contracts) the union decided to raise demands for the teacher’s re-employment since her school didn’t inform her of the non-renewal until the end of January, too late for her to find more high school work for the upcoming school year.

Read more...

SAC Branch Survey Results

Many respondents were interested in shakai hoken for part-timers. In this regard, Japanese law does not differentiate between full- and part-time workers. It simply states that all workers must be enrolled. In practice, however, the shakai hoken office follows internal ordinances that says those working 3/4 of a full-timer's schedule must be enrolled. Companies are left to decide for themselves if they want to offer shakai hoken to workers who do not meet this condition.

Read more...

GU wins insurance at Riseisha High School

Our members enquired at their school about Shakai Hoken and were offered two options for their 2005 contract: one with full pay and no enrolment, and the other with enrolment and 55,000 yen cut in salary.

Read more...

Kansai Ohkura High School

Join now! The GU has shown we can get things done.

Kansai Ohkura High School We won a satisfactory settlement in a non-renewal case here this month, and to all foreign and Japanese teachers at Kansai Ohkura now, we’d like to say: Join now! The GU has shown we can get things done.

Osaka Kokusai Owada High School

We are currently negotiating over the attempted ‘non-renewal’ of a member working without a contract.

We have protested that you cannot non-renew a non-contract worker. It constitutes a dismissal, for which good reasons are necessary (now enshrined in the 2004 revisions to the Labour Standards Law). GU Members should be ready to support our member here should this come to a dispute!

GU Secures High School Jobs

A flurry of calls from existing union members over the last month or so has happily ended in victory in all the cases.

Read more...

Doshisha High School

As reported in last month’s “Voice”, our member had a massive cut in teaching hours, from 18 to 12. Seeing that no reason was offered for the cut in hours and the impact that it would have had on our member’s livelihood, the union decided to act.

Read more...

Tokai Gakuen High School

This establishment decided to make its long-serving native speaker English teachers redundant, in order to replace them with dispatch company staff.

Read more...

Additional information