Nichibei Eigo Gakuin: Union leader wins court case

Back to School The Osaka District Court has ordered a private English school in Osaka's Kita-ku to pay back wages and rehire a former teacher who was fired last year for organizing a strike at the school.

Paul Dorey, 36, was fired by the Nichibei English Service in January 1999 after organizing a strike among other teachers in his capacity as a member of the General Union, an Osaka-based labor union that represents foreign teachers in labor disputes. The school said that Dorey had been fired because he had refused to take on enough classes. Dorey had been working at the school since February 1990 on a contract that was renewed yearly. In handing down the sentence on March 10, Presiding Judge Yoshimichi Matsuo said the school was unjustified in its actions. "The reason for the dismissal was unjust as it was the school that had deprived the plaintiff of his lessons in retaliation for organizing strikes," said Matsuo. "The plaintiff's actions were not out of line, such as staging unexpected strikes, which would have been outside the bounds of fair relations between labor and management." Dorey's attorney said that conditions for many foreign teachers were tenuous at best. "A number of managers of private English conversation schools employ foreign teachers and then discard them easily, taking advantage of the nation's English learning boom," said the attorney. "Working conditions in many schools are poor and there is no paid vacation or unemployment insurance." (Mainichi Daily News, 11 March 2000)

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