Berlitz Instructors Ready To Blow! Members Demanding Strike Vote!

Berlitz Japan is the only major language school in Japan which employs (what it calls) "Paid Per Lesson Instructors" (PL).

Unlike normal part-time workers who have set working hours (just reduced from a full-time contract), these "PL" instructors have no set working hours and are informed the night before about the next day’s schedule.

The union has complained to Berlitz that these contracts are not allowed under the Labour Standards Law because there are no set hours.

Our complaints are not based on some kind of technical legal issues; they are concretely based upon the problems that you are about to read about.

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GABA - New System Training

In the lead-up to the new system in July, Gaba staff asked instructors to sign a "letter of understanding" about training for the new computer system. It was not clear whether this was mandatory or not.

As the company had previously tried to force instructors to do unpaid training, the General Union asked the company to clarify this. Gaba stated that signing the letter of understanding was not mandatory, nor was doing the training.

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Unions Are Not "Cheap Lawyers For Hire"

In Japan, unions have many unique rights compared to many of the countries where our members come from. One of those rights is the power to demand collective bargaining regardless of the number of members we have at a particular place of work.

That's right: even with just one member, an employer cannot not refuse negotiations with a labour union.

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Why Is Amity Suddenly Recruiting Teachers From The Philippines?

Is Amity finding it difficult to recruit teachers who will simply accept what a manager says as gospel? Do they think that by hiring from the Philippines they will get workers who are too scared to ask for their rights to be respected?

It should go without saying that the General Union welcomes the idea of diversity in regards to the hiring of language teachers in Japan; such exposure to different people and culture can only enrich the experience of students.

However, in this case, we have to wonder about Amity's true motivations...

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Is NOVA A Black Company?

Many of you may have seen the government's recent list of some of the worst "black companies" in Japan - a list in which it names and shames some of the most egregious of unrepentant labor law violators.

The General Union will actually be publishing a critique of this list in the coming weeks (is a list really the best they can do?) but, in the meantime, here is a small article based upon a discussion that was held by some of our members.

The conversation started with this comment: "In the grand scheme of things, NOVA probably isn't that bad. Nobody's committed suicide over their job, have they?"

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Something To Hide? Amity Refuses To Provide Copies Of Time-Cards

As a union, we recommend all workers keep accurate records of actual working hours - including copies of time cards if they are required to punch in.

People new to the country may not realize the necessity of doing this - especially at Amity, which operates a system that is reliant upon people working overtime (and this is particularly true in the case of new teachers).

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James [English School] And The Giant [Lack Of Unemployment Insurance]?

The Unemployment Insurance System (koyou hoken; aka shitsugyou hoken) in Japan is fairly clear-cut: if you are unlucky enough to lose your job, you'll receive unemployment support benefits for a period of 90 - 330 days depending on age and length of enrollment.

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Hey! ECC 35-hour Contract Teachers: We Can Make ECC A Better Place To Work!

Our current union campaign is “Let’s PARiTY” and we're working on making sure all one year contract employees, staff and teachers, Japanese and foreign, have equal rights at ECC. 

Joining lets you be involved in spreading fairness at ECC, and making sure that no one is cheated in their work. 

PARiTY also means that we want the same rights to holidays, bonuses, and employment security that other “non-one-year-contract” workers at ECC enjoy.

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Nova Court Case Update - March 23

As you probably know, General Union members are suing Nova over the issue of Independent Contracts. These contracts rob instructors of paid leave, unemployment insurance, health & pension, and even workers accident compensation, amongst other things.

Previously, we had submitted evidence of how Nova controls Independent Contractors despite the company claiming that they do not have any control.

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"Let's PARITY!!" At ECC

"In twenty years of negotiating with employers all around Japan, I have never seen a company that holds their own employees - the economic engine of their own company - in such contempt. Most employers at least have the decency to pay lip service and offer hollow respect."

Dennis Tesolat (General Union Chair)

In January of this year, union members from the General Union and Tokyo Roso working at ECC all across Japan submitted demands to their employer to improve pay and other working conditions.

No company ever starts off with giving in to all union demands - but what we are currently witnessing at ECC is a full assault on the union and its members.

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