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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: 0900 on February 28 (2020)

covid 19We want to make sure our members and friends are safe during this period and hope that everyone will cooperate in containing this virus.

We also know that everyone must eat and support their families, so your most burning questions are about wages.

At 0900, a General Union official visited the Osaka Labour Bureau to confirm the pay situation during this period.

At the moment, there is NO direct order for any board of education, private company, universities, or other schools, to close due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Therefore all closings are currently based on the employer's own decision.

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GU Organizes at Nagoya International School

nagoya gu sexual harassmentOn January 16th (2020), the General Union filed a case against Nagoya International School at the Osaka Prefectural Labour Commission.

Staff have raised a number of issues that they have with the school in conversations with the union, including difference in conditions between "local" and "foreign" hires being enrolled in social insurance (Shakai Hoken), maternity leave, annual leave, issues with evaluation and promotion, and issues with the way management have dealt with teachers.

However, the trigger that initially sparked interest in unionization was the way that management mis-handled a sexual harassment complaint.

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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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5% Wage Demand at Osaka Gaigo

Union members who were involved in a long labour dispute with their employer from 2013 which culminated in the Supreme Court turning down the school's refusal to follow the Osaka Labour Commission ruling ordering the employer to share financial data with the union, have submitted demands for 5% pay increase as well as access to financial data.

While members secured a 2% increase in 2019, we feel that asking for an additional pay increase after the school's stalling tactics of filing appeal after appeal since 2013, is very reasonable. Members note another increase in student numbers (still to be clearly established as it's only February) which points to the employer's improved financial situation and ability to increase pay.

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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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Labor Update Bulletin #80 (02/2020)

labor bulletin 2018This bulletin contains information on law changes, government discussions, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in general in Japan.

Read more...

Labor Update Bulletin #79 (01/2020)

labor bulletin 2018This bulletin contains information on law changes, government discussions, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in general in Japan.

Read more...

How To (Legally) Engage In Additional Work In Japan (FAQ)

If you live and work in Japan, you might find that your salary isn't always enough to make ends meet. Sure, you might be keeping the lights on every month, but perhaps there isn't much left over to save for a rainy day.

In these situations, a second (or third) job might seem to be the ideal solution: you have time; you need money; why not get do more work?

How do you engage in additional employment without running into trouble with the immigration office or your main place of work (and affecting your renewal chances)?

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Abe Government Attempts to Smash Labor Union in Kansai

From the Shingetsu News Agency (27 January, 2020)

In December, Yoichi Take of Kan'nama Union, and General Union officers and an interpreter met the Shingetsu News Agency for an interview.  

SNA (Tokyo) — Largely ignored by the mainstream media, the Abe government has been engaged for several years in one of the most aggressive and unconstitutional efforts to smash a small industrial labor union in Japan’s Kansai region, including mass arrests of union members.

The full name of the union in question is the Kansai District Ready-Mixed Concrete Branch of the All Japan Construction and Transport Workers Solidarity Union, but it sometimes goes by the shorter name "Kannama" for simplicity’s sake.

KEEP READING at the Shingetsu News Agency

Abe Government Attempts to Smash Labor Union in Kansai

From the Shingetsu News Agency - 27 January 2020

In December, Yoichi Take of Kan'nama Union, and General Union officers and an interpreter met the Shingetsu News Agency for an interview.  

------------------------------------

SNA (Tokyo) — Largely ignored by the mainstream media, the Abe government has been engaged for several years in one of the most aggressive and unconstitutional efforts to smash a small industrial labor union in Japan’s Kansai region, including mass arrests of union members.

The full name of the union in question is the Kansai District Ready-Mixed Concrete Branch of the All Japan Construction and Transport Workers Solidarity Union, but it sometimes goes by the shorter name “Kannama” for simplicity’s sake.

Kannama is among the minority of Japanese unions that is an industrial union, not the in-house union of a single company, and its members consist of workers inside ready-mixed concrete plants and the drivers of the concrete trucks who transport the wet concrete to construction sites throughout the Kansai region.

KEEP READING at the Shingetsu News Agency

 

General Union vs Osaka Shoin - Trial begins – Osaka District Court

3 February 2020 13:10 

On 31 March 2018 a General Union member was dismissed by Osaka Shoin High School specifically to stop him from working past a year and gaining the right to apply for an unlimited-term contract. On 25 June 2018, the member, with the aid of the union, filed a case against the dismissal at the Osaka District Court claiming the dismissal to be invalid.

After months of document exchanges in court, the case is set to come to trial on 3 February from 1310 to 1600 and we need you in court to support your fellow member and to show that we will not accept the dismissal of union members and employers who flaunt the law to get out of their obligations. RSVP your attendance.

Both our member (in Japanese with English translation) and a witness from Osaka Shoin will be examined and cross examined on the day of the trial.

Unlimited-term contracts are the law of the land, but that means nothing if employers can just stop these new contracts by firing you before you can even apply. It’s up to us to defend this important new law and let all employers know that this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. RSVP your attendance at the Osaka District Court on 3 February (meetup place is Yodoyabashi Station Exit 1 at 12:20 or go directly to Osaka Court Room 809 by at least 13:00).

Learn more about this history of this dispute by clicking here.

Labor Update Bulletin #78 (01/2020)

labor bulletin 2018This bulletin contains information on law changes, government discussions, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in general in Japan.

Read more...

Labor Update Bulletin #77 (12/2019)

labor bulletin 2018This bulletin contains information on law changes, government discussions, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in general in Japan.

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Working at a board of education?

We will be holding an open meeting for all directly hired and dispatched teachers working at boards of education on Wednesday, 22 January from 1900 at the union office or via skype. Please RSVP if you plan to attend as seating is limited.

As you know, there are big changes taking place to the system for directly hired teachers starting in 2020 which may lead to jobs being outsourced or even cuts to wages. Dispatched teachers also face ever deteriorating working conditions which are often markedly worse than those working as directly hired teachers.

We don’t think that these two groups of workers should be fighting separately to improve their working conditions, but will have a better chance as dealing as one body especially in terms of how the General Union deals with ALT issues with the central government.

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How Long Can You (Legally) Be Unemployed In Japan?

You've had enough. You gave your two weeks of notice to your company, received your letter of release, and now you're free of the corporate shackles that once bound you. After leaving for the last time, you step out of the building, and then wonder:

Just how long can you be jobless in Japan before immigration takes notice?

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Labor Update Bulletin #76 (12/2019)

labor bulletin 2018This bulletin contains information on law changes, government discussions, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in general in Japan.

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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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Labor Update Bulletin #75 (11/2019)

labor bulletin 2018This bulletin contains information on law changes, government discussions, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in general in Japan.

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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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Labor Update Bulletin #74 (11/2019)

labor bulletin 2018This bulletin contains information on law changes, government discussions, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in general in Japan.

Read more...

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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Postal Workers Union: Sign the Petition for Equal Treatment of Non-regular Postal Workers, and for Regular Employment!

Add your name to the Postal Worker Industry Union's petition for equality for non-regular workers.

General Union members know what it is like to work as a non-regular employee: one year contracts, sometimes even shorter, no bonus, no retirement allowances, and unequal treatment compared regular workers doing similar jobs at your workplace.

The Postal Workers Industry Union (Yusei Union) members know this too ,and that's why they have been running a long campaign to get rid of these differences and make sure that all workers are treated equally and with dignity. 

You can read more about their campaign for equality here.

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We Stand Against the Arrest and Detention of Kan'nama Union Activists



The arrests of union leaders and activists of the All Japan Construction and Transport Solidarity Union - Kansai Ready Mix Concrete Branch (Kan'nama) continues.

The chair of this union has been in detention for over one year.

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2019 Central Government Negotiations

On November 11, 2019, thanks to the cooperation of Diet Member Abe Tomoko, negotiations were held between the National Union of General Workers "education group" (NUGW Tokyo Nambu, General Union, and Fukuoka General Union), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT), the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHWL), Ministry of the Interior, and the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

The negotiations took place over three hours, at the House of Representatives members building.

The talks began with hearing answers from members of each relevant ministry or agency to questions the union side had previously submitted, based on the education group's demands and our 2019 ALT Survey report.

Read more...

Labor Update Bulletin #73 (11/2019)

labor bulletin 2018This bulletin contains information on law changes, government discussions, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

Read more...

Labor Update Bulletin #71 (10/2019)

labor bulletin 2018This bulletin contains information on law changes, government discussions, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

Read more...

Labor Update Bulletin #70 (09/2019)

labor bulletin 2018This bulletin contains information on law changes, government discussions, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

Read more...

Labor Update Bulletin #69 (09/2019)

labor bulletin 2018This bulletin contains information on law changes, government discussions, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.

We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.

Read more...

"Labour Rights Education for Education Workers" seminar NOW ONLINE!

Since July, the General Union in cooperation with our sister unions in the National Union of General Workers, have been running free labour rights seminars across Japan. Fukuoka in July, Nagoya in September, Tokyo and Okayama in October, and we finally ended in Osaka on 17 November.

This seminar is now available to all of you online. You can download both the entire seminar covering: Employment Standards, Social Insurance, Unlimited Term Contracts, and Trade Union Law all from YouTube, and the accompanying manual to help you understand what we're referring to in the video.

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New, Multilingual Leaflet on Caregiver & Nursing Care Leave

Just had a baby? Elderly parents need help at home? Want more information but everything is in Japanese?

The Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Labour has produced a new, multilingual pamphlet available online.

It covers:

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Additional information