General Union Puts NOVA On Notice

Will the Neyagawa City Board of Education be hit by the first ever strike of dispatch ALTs in western Japan?

Could you live on 93,000 a month? Well, by some magical formula and/or equation that is known to only NOVA, ALTs hibernate in August.

ALTs (they apparently believe) also eat less than usual in December, January, and March, but a bit more than they do August, as they're only in a state of semi-hibernation during these months.

We all know NOVA's rationale, and some at this point might even believe it's fair to pay less because the teachers are working less during these months.

However, are these ALTs really "part-timers"?

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Making Berlitz Better

Union members at Berlitz became the second union branch to submit demands for a 2% increase in pay (over and above their regular evaluated pay increases) to offset the increases in the consumption tax since 2014.

Members believe that while pay has increased a little based on their individual evaluations, the importance of this pay raise, meant to reward performance only, is lost if is eroded by tax increases. Therefore, members are asking for a pay increase to rebalance their salaries from when the sales tax rate doubled from 5% to 10%.

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Santa Claus Prepares for Annual ECC Visit

On 15 December ECC members at the General Union (western Japan and Tokai) and Tokyo Roso (Kanto area) held a joint branch meeting to discuss and decide our demands for the 2020 academic year. 

These demands are usually submitted around this time of the year and when we called the company to say that we were sending our demands on the week of the 23rd of December, they joked that it was the annual Christmas present from the union. So we hope readers will allow us the kitschy image we've used in this article.

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Safety at GABA

earthquake drill2019 has seen a number of news stories that relate to safety. In the course of daily life there are various workplace accidents and disasters even in office-style workplaces.

Since the Tohoku Earthquake on 11 March 2011, the General Union Gaba Branch has been raising the issue of safety preparations at Gaba as the company didn’t seem to be at all prepared for such a disaster.

The company has responded to the union’s concerns by conducting semi-regular evacuation drills at Learning Studios and has provided emergency supplies to all lesson booths.

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Harassment by Gaba Clients - What You Can Do if It Happens

gaba harassmentFor some years, the General Union's Gaba branch has been following up the issue of clients harassing instructors.

After the union repeatedly raised the issue, company published guidelines about blocking clients, which can be found buried away under "Instructor Policy" >> "Professionalism" >> "Inappropriate Behavior Instructor policy" (see below).

Unless instructors take a very deep dive into the back pages of the Gaba site they are unlikely to find this.

Things have improved somewhat, but talking to new instructors coming into the system makes it clear that this issue is still not being adequately covered.

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Good News for Berlitz Members as Union Improves Pay and Other Conditions

On Friday, October 12th, collective bargaining for 2019 working conditions finally ended, and both parties concluded a collective agreement.

This is the first ever collective agreement with Berlitz that offers pay increases outside of the current evaluated pay increase system.

While the agreement is limited in scope and only covers some members who were not eligible for an evaluation or were maxed out on pay increases, it is a major breakthrough at a company who has only ever given pay increases based on evaluation.

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Union Wins At Nagoya District Court: Nova's "Independent Contractors" Actually Employees

● Union members on individual contractor agreements ruled to be employees

● Court orders payment of damages to loss of paid holidays under the Labour Standards Law.

● Court also orders damages for failure to enrol in health and pension insurance.

● Nagoya court rules that 40 lesson contract employees are actually eligible for enrolment in health and pension insurance.

A judgement in a case filed against NOVA by six general union members in 2016 was handed down on September 24th (2019).

Nova employed the six members as independent contractors to work as teachers right alongside employees who were also teachers. Nova has gradually tried to increase the number of contractors working as teachers in order to weaken employment rights.

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September 8th - Language Industry Shunto 2020 Organising Meeting

Union leaders from around Japan representing workers at major language schools will meet to start planning Shunto 2020.

The first stage of planning will be creating a comprehensive assessment of working conditions at all the major schools.

Our goal is to make sure the highest common denominator is used at all schools to set working conditions, as opposed to the race to the bottom that employers want to force on us. 

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Gaba Corporation Safety Preparation Survey

The General Union has raised safety issues with Gaba on many occasions, resulting in more emergency drills and emergency supplies being provided for all lesson booths.

In light of the recent horrific fire in Kyoto resulting in a large number of deaths, and the general possibility of fire, earthquakes and other dangers, we would like to check in with instructors about the current safety situation at Gaba.

We hope that you'll take this quick and anonymous survey as we would love to hear from as many people working at Gaba as possible.

ECC: Union Wins Improvements for 2019; Vows to Keep Fighting in 2020

Six months of negotiations ended on July 21st without a strike, with members voting three-to-one to accept ECCs final offer negotiated with the union.

This year's bargaining had a lot of cliffhangers with two scheduled strikes being post-poned as we turned the threat of strikes into tangible gains for our members.

The package accepted by a vast majority of General Union and Tokyo Roso ECC members brings the following benefits to members:

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