Making a good job better - 2013 In Review

2013 was a very good year for the General Union Gaba branch. It was different to all previous years for the agreements that we managed to make with the company and in the amount of social activities we organized to bring instructors together. We’re looking forward to making 2014 another year where we make a good job better – and we would love to have your help.

 

Better pay for instructors

After the union’s insistence that instructor’s compensation be improved, the company signed an agreement to increase the pay for early morning instructors by 200 yen per lesson effective in May, which was a good start to improving pay.

Better social activities for instructors

As Gaba no longer organizes social events for instructors, in December 2012 the union stepped up and organized the first company-wide year-end party since 2006.

In 2013 the GU organized more social events for instructors, a Hanami party in Yoyogi park in April, and live music nights at What The Dickens in Ebisu in September and December. We had rock bands, movie screenings, DJs, and an amazing performance by the Taiko drumming group Bachirazzi. The company held a luxury Christmas party for management at the Imperial Hotel but decided to exclude instructors, so the union held a Christmas party open to all in Ebisu, which was well-attended. We will be holding more events in 2014 too.

Better support for instructors

In addition to gaining more money for morning instructors, the union also signed a grievance procedure agreement that obliges the company to deal promptly and fairly with any individual grievances instructors raise through the union. The union dealt with a number of individual issues, and in August raised the issue of client sexual harassment of instructors in negotiations with the company.

In October Omiya LS GU Branch member Pascal Burel went missing while hiking, and the GU, its members, Gaba instructors and staff worked together to publicize his disappearance and raise money for a private search. Sadly for his family and many friends at Gaba and around the world Pascal was not found, but the fundraising efforts did raise over 200,000 yen, which covered the total cost of the private search and reduced the burden on the family at a very difficult time.

The union appreciates the company publicizing the fundraising on MGI so all instructors could see it, and hopes to see more cooperation like this on more issues.

Better communication

After holding meetings on an irregular schedule in the past, 2013 saw the union begin regular monthly meetings at the union’s office in Shimbashi. To keep members and others informed about goings-on at Gaba we increased our use of the internet, using monthly emails, the union’s website, Facebook and other means to ensure people were informed about what was going on.

When Gaba unfortunately decided to hold a party at the luxury Imperial Hotel for management but not instructors the union ensured people were informed about this, and the news went viral, with thousands of people viewing the post on the union's Facebook page.

Better days ahead

2013 was a good year for the union, and we are looking forward to making 2014 an even better one. The union is growing, but the more instructors join the faster we can make a good job better and make our working lives at Gaba more enjoyable. Gaba is a place where we can make our living or an extra income, where we can meet interesting students, instructors and staff. It is a great place to work – and the GU wants to make it an even better one. If you would like that too, please feel free to contact us any time – we are all in this together.

January 17, 2014

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