General Union


Branch History at a glance!

1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996
1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002


Jan 18 Lecture on 'Foreigners' Rights' by K. Yamahara, after his visit to Europe.
Feb 2 'Osaka Zenrokyo' founded. Founding of General Union proposed.
  5 'ELC Junior' Branch formed among Japanese female teachers.
  20 Preparatory Meeting for founding of General Union. Union dues are set at 800 yen.
May   HAL English School closes with unpaid wages. Complaint filed at LSO, which forces payment. Simon joins as first foreign member.
June 12 General Union founding meeting, APIO Osaka. Union constitution adopted. 15 members, Katsuji Yamahara chairman.
'Neverland' (Umeda) threatens damage suit against New Zealand teacher taking paid holidays. GU protests and threat withdrawn. Unpaid wages paid.
July 2 General Union first Executive Committee Meeting.
  30 GU/Civil servant meeting.
Sept 2-3 GU takes part in telephone consultation along with 'NGO Asian friend'.
  29 GU report at National Meeting of Zenrokyo.
Nov 30 OIC (Osaka International College) President Alan Higgs obstructs Labour Standards Officials carrying out inspection.
Dec   GU files at LSO against IES for refusal to supply certificate of employment.
  4 RINK (Rights of Immigrants Network Kansai) founded.
  14 GU proposes Study Meeting on civil servants' union rights.


Jan 11 Osaka Zenrokyo Flag Raising Ceremony. Simon makes speech.
Feb 12 'International Voice' goes bankrupt. GU uses Wage Protection Fund to insure payment of unpaid wages.
March 23 GU 'English Conversation Workers Gathering' at Yusei Kaikan; 60 attend. Widely reported in mass media.
April 29 General Union Teachers' Meeting.
May 1 GU produces English/Japanese Dictionary for Social Action. 2000 words. Compiled by Yamahara, supervised by Simon and Isu.
  11 Negotiations with Tanaka Galvanising over Bolivian Worker's injury compensation.
June 12 Symposium on Japanese language schools and working students.
  25 GU introduced in 'Association for Multi-Cultural Families' bulletin.
July 17 Strike at ELC Junior. GU wins 2 months' bonus.
  19 Union 2nd General Meeting, Rokko.
  24 YMCA uses picture of union member without permission in advertisement. GU protests, YMCA sends written apology.
Nov 2 GU branch declared at Asahi Gaigo Gakuin, Tsu. GU files case at Osaka Labour Commission for 'control and interference' and failure to pay 250,000 / month.
  8 'Social Insurance and Tax for foreigners' lecture by Kimi Sasahara.
  17 Joint dispute with Gunma Union against Takechi Rubber (Ibaraki City) over dispatched Brazilian workers.
Dec 17 GU branch declared at Hannan Univ. Victory; 1 koma rate stays at 50,000 yen / month.


Feb 23 Agreement on unpaid wages with ESS Gakuin (Dai 3 Bldg).
March 19 General Union demands withdrawal of dismissal at 'The Human' (Senba).
  24 Shunto General Action Day. General Union protests against IES for dismissal of Canadian female teacher.
  30 General Union makes demands in case of fired Iranian worker at Nitto Denko (Ibaraki).
May 8-9 General Union 2-day school, 26 people, in Rokko. Mr Noda from ECC Tokyo invited to speak. Membership hits 100.
June 19 Osaka Labour Bar Association founded (Ex-Osaka Sohyo Bar Association).
August 2 Interac dispute declared at Zenrokyo General Meeting, shown on NHK.
  24 Interac strikes start. Victory; Ian's firing withdrawn.
  31 GU makes demands to Shinko Gakuen (Kobe) regarding teaching hours. GU General Meeting; Mr Yasuyama elected General Secretary. GU Branches = 4.
Sept 8 GU Branch formed at Mikado Propeller (Nabari) among Filipino workers. GU demands withdrawal of 'double contracts', fines, etc.
Oct 30 'Gambare Foreign Workers!' Support Meeting for Interac, Mikado Propeller Branches, Seishonen Hall.
Nov 20 General Meeting. Simon elected General Secretary. Membership = Japanese 50, Foreign 90.
Dec 5 Osaka YMCA GU Branch formed among Japanese workers.
  13 'BEGUN' (Berlitz GU Branch) formed.
  17 A conversation school in Osaka closes. GU and students take over running of the school until graduation.


Feb 26 General Meeting. Union dues go to 1500 yen.
March 25 English Conversation school 'Attorney' files for bankruptcy.
  31 Osaka Gakuin University fires Mary Flaherty. Reason; 3 year limit. GU files case in May at Osaka District Court, in September at Osaka Labour Commission.
April 12 President of Attorney harangued at meeting with students. In revenge for TV appearance, president assaults GU member Peter Gordon, and is arrested.
May 17 GU Nichibei Eigo Gakuin Branch founded. Collective agreement signed in November.
June 12 GU Branches at Attorney, Mikado Propeller and Asahi Hiking trip to Mie. Victory at Mikado Propeller: Contracts renewed and training allowance doubled.
July 9 Symposium on Limited term contracts. Mr Suh Yong-Dal, Mary and Mr Niwa.
  15 Mary F's case goes to High Court, reported in Newsweek.
  20 'Bilingual' goes bankrupt. GU Bilingual Branch formed.
  21 Protest support meeting in Kyoto. GU wins back enrolment in Unemployment Insurance.
Sept 6 NOVA teacher arrested for Marijuana possession. NOVA attempts to force all foreign employees to take drug tests. GU NOVA Branch declared with 150 members, refuses testing, and holds press conference.
  18 NOVA Executive Anders Lundquist visits GU to apologise. Drug tests abandoned.
  24-25 APWSL International Meeting 'Foreign Workers' Rights' Representatives from Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, AMC.
Dec 6 GU Otemon Univ. Branch formed. All 7 members win contract renewals.


Jan 17 GU member Bonnie dies in Great Hanshin Earthquake.
  23 'Atty' President apologises and pays apology money to union member Peter Gordon.
Feb 21 Shunto General Action Day. Protests at Interac, Nichibei Eigo Gakuin, AIM.
  27 GU America Eigo Gakuin (AEG) Branch formed (Wakayama).
March 6 Agreement at AIM (Japanese School) in case of teacher Moriwaki.
  17 AEG Branch leader Jenifer fired. Strikes begin.
  23 Shunto General Action against firings after Great Hanshin Earthquake. NOVA visited.
May 9 GU files case against Hanshin Kogyo at Osaka LC over discrimination against Japanese member.
  16 GU acquires the first office of its own.
July 25 GU files against NOVA at Osaka Bar Association Human Rights Committe for Drug test clauses in contracts. Committee declares clause breach of human rights. NOVA refuses order.
Aug 2 Tokyo South files Unfair Labour Practices case against NOVA at Tokyo Labour Commission.
  4 Osaka Gakuin Univ. and lawyer Nakabo apply for injunction banning GU from university premises and lawyers' office.
Nov 7 GU Geos Branch submits demands.
  15 JAPWSL, NGO International Meeting during Osaka APEC.
  26 GU holds 'Foreign Activists Training Course' in English on Trade Union Law, Labour Standards Law, Collective Bargaining, Labour Disputes, etc.
Dec 8 GU Geos Branch wins collective agreement on freedom of residence; training, etc.
  16 GU YMCA Branch wins union notice boards.


Jan 7 GU files against Nichibei Gaigo Gakuin (Fukui) at LSO and Unemployment Insurance Office.
Feb 16 GU makes all-branch united pay demands (reported in all media).
  22 GU Geos Branch Chairman Dennis dismissed.
March 21 Shunto General Action Day. Protests against Geos, NOVA, and Berlitz.
April 3 GU Nichibei Branch wins agreement, company gives pay rise and promises to provide material for group lessons.
  27 Collective bargaining over dismissal at Apple Eigo Gakuen (Izumi Sano).
May 1 Resolution to support GU in Geos dispute at May Day. (K. Yamahara returns to activity after recovering from a serious illness).
June 14 Demo in Tokushima City against Geos and Maruzen Bookstore.
  18 Hunger strike starts at Umeda Geos. Union members and students leaflet together.
  24 GU files case against Geos at District Court for unfair dismissal, and at Osaka LC December 9.
July 13 YMCA promises to renew contracts of all union members.
Aug 2 Protest action at a Geos school in Brighton, England.
Sept   Actions against Geos in Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, Sendai, Yokohama, Fukuoka.
Oct 19 Agreement with ECC over legal annual paid holidays. GU Branch members were taking annual holidays against school's regulations. GU wins legal annual paid holidays including those carried over from previous years.
Nov 21 New Otani Union, a HERE branch in L.A., visits GU. Joint protest against hotel begins.
Dec 6 JIAM Shiga: GU protests against dismissal.
  19 NUGW Tokyo South discloses at a press conference that NOVA lied in the document submitted on listing of their shares, claiming there is 'no trade union at NOVA'. Their share price crashes overnight.


Jan 23 Geos head office orders all schools to use Shukan Bunshun article 'Union's criticism of NOVA' for sales purposes.
  26 GU Women's Forum 'Women of Asia'.
March 2 Symposium 'Decent Education, Decent Employment' 'Eikaiwa: Is this good enough?' held with panellists from among Geos students, YMCA management, teachers and General Union.
  3 'Real Jobs Campaign' Joint demands to all schools.
  5 Higashi Osaka Board of Education apologises for and withdraws 3-year contract limits.
  15 General Action Day. Osaka. Protest at Nomura Securities over NOVA's public stock offering.
April 1 Sumitomo Seimei Union, Mr Adachi. Demands for workers' accident compensation.
May 1 May Day. GU HONETU Branch Appeal (Higashi Osaka NETs' Union).
June 17 Victory in Osaka LC settlement with Geos. Dennis's firing withdrawn.
July 7 GU Leap Branch declared, 18 members. Company enters pre-consultation agreement with GU.
Aug 25 Revived GU Nichibei Eigo Gakuin Branch submits demands. Union busting begins.
Sept 14 Liverpool Dockers visit Osaka at General Union's invitation.
Nov 7 GU Tokai Branch wins legal paid holidays at ECC Chubu.
Dec 8 General Union and ECC HQ start joint grievance system.
  15 Dennis introduces General Union on FM Cocolo.
  26 Osaka Labour Commission judgement: American Plaza's firing of Filipina GU member and refusal of Collective Bargaining 'illegal'.


Feb 26 GU wins workers' accident compensation and apology for Mr Ito, Eiwa Shinyo Kinko.
March 1-2 Foreigners' Rights General Action Day, Tokyo and National Meeting.
  3 GU strike against restructuring at ECC. March 12, victory.
  11 ECC Head Office accepts demands for enrolment of all workers in Unemployment Insurance.
  23 Dispute leafleting at all Nichibei schools. Strikes start March 28.
April 1 GU/ECC agreement on summer holidays and fixed paid holidays.
  5 GU/Union Zenrokyo joint Hanami BBQ.
  9 Nichibei Eigo Gakuin fires GU member Corey. Also fires another member Colin on April 20.
  11 Toza goes bankrupt. GU Meeting, 150 employees attend. Meetings held at 2 locations - at the office and in the park by the river - as not everyone fits in the office. 100 join.
May 11 U.S. Researcher Hugh Williamson visits GU.
  12 GU files ULP case against Nichibei Eigo Gakuin at Osaka LC for unfair dismissal and union-busting.
  24 APWSL invites Thai Suzuki Motors Union.
June 23 Dennis gets union staff working visa.
  24 Action organised by Kumamoto GU in support for dispute at Kumamoto Pref. Univ.
  30 Osaka LC; GU wins demand for interpretation for foreign witnesses. First hearing with new system is held.
Oct 7 Toza Student group and GU open 'Independent lessons' in Umeda.
  29 Nichibei Eigo Gakuin exposed at Osala LC using president posing as student recommending the school in advertising leaflet.
Nov 3 'Leap' closes all schools. Independent lessons start in Suita.


Jan 20 Nichibei Eigo Gakuin fires GU branch leader Paul after 10 months of strikes.
  29 GU negotiates with Daiwa Bank over YMCA loan scandal.
Feb 9 GU sues at Osaka District Court for unfair dismissal in Paul's case (Nichibei).
March 2 Osaka Labour Commission issues executive order to Nichibei to allow Paul to stay in Japan during the Unfair Labour Practices Case.
  17 Shunto General Action Day, Osaka; Action for GU Higashi Osaka Branch.
April 17 GU Hunger strike in front of Higashi Osaka City Hall.
  18 GU and Toza students joint struggle leads to a new consumer law. Symposium on 'English Schools and the new consumer law'.
June 16 Paul wins injunction at civil court. Nichibei takes case to full trial.
  21 Thai Labour Ministry representatives visit GU office.
July 17 Osaka Zenrokyo 'Educational Unions Meeting'.
Sept 2 Geos staff Hitomi Nishikawa testifies at Osaka Labour Commission, followed by report / support meeting.
  24 GU files new ULP case against Nichibei Eigo Gakuin in Paul's firing case.
  31 GU makes demands to Shinko Gakuen (Kobe) regarding teaching hours.
Oct 2 Joint event GU/EWA - Symposium on 'Limited term employment'. Reports from Mr Suh Yong-Dal and Kumamoto General Union.
  14 Chinese trainees organise in Fukui. Fukui General Union Branch founded.
  17 Joint meeting, Osaka Gaigo GU branch and Union Higoro (Japanese employees) branch.
Nov 10 GU Mabuchi Interkids Branch formed.


Jan 17 GU Kwansei Gakuin Branch declared. Demands on withdrawal of pay cut, paid holidays and UI (Pay cut withdrawn March 13).
Feb 9 'Unemployed Union' founded in Kansai, at Kansai Concrete Workers' Hall.
  14 General Action Day. Demo outside Geos, Namba School in support of Hitomi Nishikawa.
  16 GU submits demands to Ritsumeikan Uji High School, wins renewal of teacher's contract.
  28 GU Chris English Masters Branch declared. March 27 Collective Bargaining, collective agreement signed July 1, guaranteeing pay rises.
March 10 GU civil court victory in unfair dismissal case; Paul vs Nichibei Eigo Gakuin. Case makes major papers and national TV. Company appeals to High Court March 22.
April 27 Anti-Ishihara Demo in protest against 'Sangokujin' case.
June 16 Geos dispute settled in victory for General Union. 14 Japanese staff win unpaid overtime allowance. Company promises in writing to obey labour law.
  30 Zenrokyo 'Workers' Summit' Asia International Meeting.
July 23 Geos dispute victory seminar. Tokai Geos Union Fund set up.
Aug 16 GU sends demands to Ashoka Indian Restaurant, with Fukuoka General Union.
Oct 6 GU eXL Japan ( Branch declared. ULP case filed Dec 28, Osaka Labour Commission.
Dismissal case at NOVA Toyama school for 'getting engaged to a student.' Dismissal withdrawn one month later after GU protests.
Nov 10 GU Institut Franco-Japonais Branch declared. (files ULP case against French government March 21 '01)
  17 GU High Court victory against Nichibei Eigo Gakuin. Paul returns to work Nov 27. (March 5 '01, ULP case settled at Osaka Labour Commission. GU victory. Colin returns to work.)
  21 GU Kyoto City Branch declared (ALT's).
  26 Korea Omron union visits Osaka, while visiting Japan to protest at the parent company. Victory in Tokyo.


Jan 23 Grandom Academy, Nagoya; unfair dismissal case settled.
  25 Demands sent to eXLearn, Dot-com in Claifornia.
Feb 2 Heian Jo Gakuin; non renewal case settled.
  13 GU Mabuchi Interkids Branch declared.
  15 World Gakuin; Japanese member's unpaid wages case settled.
March 2 GU Human International University branch declared.
  21 Institut Franco-Japonais branch: Unfair Labour Practices case files against French government, Osaka Labour Commission. Reported on TV and in major newspapers.
April 6 Collective bargaining, Chris English Masters, Kyoto. GU wins continuation of working conditions for members.
  15 Nichibei Eigo Gakuin Victory Party.
  24 GU/TOEFL Seminar collective bargaining. Dismissal case settled.
  27 GU/Berlitz collective agreement signed. GU wins posting rights.
May 9 GU Britannica Japan Branch declared in response to company closing May 31, negotiates May 24, Kyoto.
Sept 1 GU moves into new, larger office space.
  7 NOVA Ochanama Ryugaku Branch declared.
  10 eXL Unfair Labour Practices case judgement; GU victory.
Oct 29 Nishinomiya Board of Education Branch declared. First Collective Bargaining Nov 19.
Nov   Shunto 2002 demands sent out to employers.
  7 New Unfair Labour Practices case filed against Institut Franco-Japonais. French ambassador main defendant.
  9 GU China Northern Airlines Branch declared.


Jan 30 American English Academy case settled. Company pays and apologises.
Feb 20 American Village School. Unpaid wages and Dismissal Allowance paid.
March 1 Seisen Jr. College; settlement in part-timer's non-renewal case.
  14 Tokai Gakuen, Nagoya. Settlement reached in part-timer's non-renewal case.
April 10 ECC settlement for non-renewed memer.
  13 Strikes start at Nichibei Eigo Gakuin, continuing till July. Dispute over pay rise.
  18 GU Grandom Academy Branch, Nagoya, declared.
  21 AGM: GU 10th Anniversary Book published.
AEON forced to go on Unemployment Insurance by GU's pressure.
May 16 GU Matsushita Branch declared: 15% pay cut had been announced by company.
June 7 GU Zenken (World Academy/ZIA) Branch declared. Collective agreement signed 24 June.
July 19 GU Linguaphone Branch declared, Nagoya.
  22 Strikes begin at Osaka YMCA.
Aug 6 Linguaphone non-renews branch vice-chairman Kevin Manning.
  31 Strikes begin at Lingaphone. Students collect 200 signatures in petition drive.
Sept 6 ULP case filed against Linguaphone.
Oct 15 Nishinomiya Board of Education withdraws 5-year term limit.
Nov 18 Linguaphone case settled. Settlement paid to dismissed member.
  19 GU Doshisha Kori Junior Senior High School Branch declared. (Collective bargaining held 10 December.)
Dec 6 2-year dispute with Institut Franco-Japonais settled at Osaka Labour Commission. Total victory. Guarantees of employment and withdrawal of pay cut for one member.