Latest Nova Court Update - February 20

Here is the latest update on our court case against Nova and their illegal "independent contractor" system. Read more about the case lodged in 2016.

Tuesday, February 20, was a full day of testimony with Mike testifying on the union's side and a foreign manager testifying on behalf of Nova.


Do The "Six Minute NOVA Hustle"

In case you're wondering, this "hustle" isn't a kind of dance routine cooked up as a crazy PR stunt. No, it's very much the other kind of hustle. The bad kind.

Be that as it may, you probably know all of the moves already.

The NOVA hustle goes like this:


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?"


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.


Union To Labour Standards Office: Stop Wage Theft At NOVA

Companies require you show up to work on time and - during the time you are being paid - give your attention to the job at hand. This is not only an expectation, however - they demand it of you, and will sanction you with pay cuts, fines, warnings, disciplinary actions, and dismissal, if you fail to live up to your end of the agreement.


Union Launches Group Action Lawsuit Against NOVA

In the past, we've spoken in detail about the numerous ways that some English Conversation schools exploit contracted teachers in order to "have their cake AND eat it".

As we've noted, they accomplish this by asserting that said contracted teachers are not REAL employees, but are ACTUALLY just freelance individuals who are "providing a service" to the company. Suffice to say, we are vehemently against this practice.

However, it's important to note that our stance against issue not just rhetoric. As a matter of fact, we're actually doing something about this situation:

We're taking NOVA to court over it.


NOVA - "Let Them Eat Noodles!"

Echoing the (misattributed) words of Marie Antoinette, a NOVA manager recently told a group of NOVA teachers that, instead of complaining about the basic living allowance that they were receiving, they should just eat cup noodles.


Truths About Nova’s Independent Contracts - #2 Paying To Use The Classroom

Nova charges ID Contract teachers 100 yen per lesson to use the same lesson booth a regular teacher uses for free. Why?


Truths About Nova’s Independent Contracts - #1: The Non-Competition Clause

When you're offered both an independent contract and an employment contract, you might think that the independent one offers you more freedom. After all, doesn't the word "independent" imply that you're a freelance tradesman, free to practice your skills for anyone you like?


Nova Group Action Suit – Independent Contracts

The union executive recently voted to fund a group action suit against Nova to end “Independent Contracts” and to seek compensation for lost benefits for those teachers either tricked or forced onto one of these contracts.

Since their inception over a year ago, the General Union has believed Nova’s “Independent Contracts” to be illegal. Consultations with lawyers have confirmed our beliefs. Initially we had hoped that we would be able to negotiate with Nova to phase out the system but they are hell bent on sticking with it, denying teachers paid annual leave, workers accident insurance, unemployment insurance, health & pension benefits, and paid maternity and childcare leave.


What Nova Doesn't Tell New Hires - pension & health insurance

According to the law, all residents of Japan must be enrolled in two things: public health insurance and national pension.

Public health insurance for people who aren't enrolled in the employee system (more on that later) is provided through Kokumin Kenko Hoken (National Health Insurance), which is funded nationally but administered by local governments. Application is done at the local city hall, or ward office in the case of large cities. Premiums are paid monthly, and are around ¥2,000 for the first year, after which they are adjusted according to reported income. For people on an average teacher salary, they rise to around ¥20,000 per month.


Nova Recruitment Drive - ¥1000 for First Three Months

The General Union is preparing for significant industrial action at Nova. In order to build up our strength, we’re making a special, limited-time offer to new members currently working at Nova: dues of only ¥1000 inclusive for the first three months of membership.

If interested, please fill out our online application form and be sure to indicate Nova as your workplace, and a representative will contact you shortly. Once your ¥1000 payment is received, you won’t have to make another payment until three months later.

 Let’s band together to start winning improvements at Nova!

Nova Finally Issues Sexual Harassment Policy

After repeated delays, Nova finally gave a solid reply to our request for a clear, written sexual harassment policy, which we had asked for in August. According to Nova, instructor complaints will be handled immediately by the Head Office, Customer Consulting section in the General Affairs Department. Students deemed in violation will have their contracts terminated, and employees in violation will be dealt with according to internal company guidelines. Said guidelines had only existed in Japanese until recently, but Nova made an English translation which they sent to us and promised to make available to all instructors. We intend to hold Nova to their promises.


Nova's New Year Memo

Did you see today's memo? Buried at the bottom of the memo, you will notice the most important part – taking time off is NOT compulsory.

If you do not want to, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE leave - paid or unpaid - or organize a shift swap. You have the RIGHT TO WORK, and NOVA recognizes this (now).


NOVA's New Teacher Evaluations Get An "F"

In September, NOVA launched a system in which teachers are evaluated by instructor managers (IM) and instructor support managers (ISM) under supposedly objective criteria. The system seems like it was hurriedly put together, and appears to be a malicious attempt to institutionalize company bullying by punishing teachers that management doesn't like for personal reasons.


A New Fight For Shakai Hoken At NOVA

It is no secret that NOVA has, for many years, vehemently avoided enrolling its employees in Shakai  Hoken (Employee’s Health and Pension Insurance) in order to save money by not having to contribute half of the insurance premium costs.


Executive Committee 2015

Andrew H. (Branch Chair)

I am from California, USA, and have been working as an instructor at Nova since November of 2010. I currently work at various schools between Kobe and Osaka.

I joined the union and declared my membership in the summer of 2014, out of a sense of malaise that the company neither had any sense of direction nor placed any value in the happiness of its employees. I look forward to meeting everyone of you, and showing you how we can achieve great things by working together.


Nova Manager Apologizes After Official Union Complaint

Recently, drama erupted at NOVA after a student accused a teacher - a member of the General Union - of being involved in a torrid affair with another NOVA staff member. The accusation was baseless, as no relationship of a romantic nature existed between the teacher and the member of staff. However, the way that NOVA handled the situation left much to be desired.


"NO VAcation on Saturdays", says NOVA "Paid Vacation is a Right", says the General Union

On April 9th, 2015, an employee of NOVA submitted a written request to use one of his paid holidays on May 30th, 2015.

In an attempt to circumvent the labor law, NOVA responded to this reasonable request by flatly ignoring it, and then by finally verbally informing the employee that not only would NOVA not approve the holiday, he should instead organize a "shift swap" with another person.


Independent Contracts

Are you truly independent? Are you financially better off on an ID contract? The union believes that you aren't. We also believe the contracts to be illegal. To this end we are shortly launching a group action lawsuit against the company. You can be a plaintiff if you are on an independent contract.


Truths About ID Contracts
Over the coming weeks we will be running a series of articles that highlight particular issues about the ID contracts. Feel free to contact us if you have particular questions about the contract.

We will be updating this page as new articles are added.



New Nova Contract Is Fishy

Recent negotiations with NOVA's management (from their Osaka and Nagoya offices) has confirmed what the union has suspected since the new "itaku" contracts (independent contractors) were first introduced: the contracts are very fishy.


Demands submitted to Nova for Collective Bargaining

Stagnant working conditions at Nova have seen our branch become more active and we have recently submitted demands to the company for collective bargaining in early December. Pass on the news to your colleagues. And also ask them to take our survey at


Nova Continues to Stagnate for Instructors - want to help improve things?

Four years on from the acquisition of GEOS and a long period of restructuring and branding changes, things at Nova have stabilized. Old branches have been renovated, several new branches have opened, and new educational material is being published.


Union wins job back for fired disabled Nova teacher

Nova recently fired a long term employee, and union member, due to his disability. This was part of a series of actions harassing our member because he is disabled. Needing the job badly, our member had stood by as they cut his work hours 2 years running, along with cutting his shakai hoken (health insurance & pension).


Nova: Stop firing disabled workers!

EB is a long term employee of Nova. He was there when the bankruptcy happened. For some time now, he has had a neurological condition. It does not affect the quality of his lessons, nor has there been student complaints.


Ex-Nova language school founder Sahashi's two-year prison term finalized

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by the founder and former president of the language school chain Nova Corp. against his conviction for embezzling ¥320 million from employee benefit funds, effectively finalizing his two-year prison term.


Nova conditions down

Conditions at NOVA continue to spiral downwards. From November, NOVA has started cutting teachers’ base salaries and allowances.

NOVA has once again taken advantage of contract workers by unfairly targeting teachers whose contracts are up for renewal. Members have been contacting the union in dismay.


Union members win back allowances at NOVA

While embassies were urging their citizens to evacuate from the Kanto region, NOVA was bullying "other language" instructors to transfer to Tokyo or have their allowances cut.


Nova union member's job protected

A long term Nova employee and union member was recently non-renewed for the second time in six months, and for the second time we have been able to protect his job and force the company to renew his contract.


General Union forces re-investigation into ex-NOVA president, Sahashi

In 2008, The General Union officially sought indictment NOVA’s former president, Mr Sahashi over non-payment of wages (a violation of the Labor Standards Law). When prosecutors declined to indict, the General Union took the matter to the auditors of the Public Prosecutors Office. They have now ruled the original decision “unjust”.


Hands Off My Pay



Latest Nova Actions

Keep up to date with the NOVA dispute. Bookmark this page - we will be updating it regularly.


Are you regular?


Teachers were clapping


Happy Holidays


New Company, New Nova?

A year has passed and has over 400 NOVA schools up and running. How have things changed? For the better? For the worse?

The jury is still out. In some ways teachers say NOVA v.2 is better than before. In other ways teachers say it is worse. But there is a consensus on two issues troubling NOVA teachers; the regularity allowance and the overtime pay rate.


October 26 in history

  • October 26, 1863 Soccer rules standardized; rugby starts as a separate game
  • October 26, 1881 Gunfight at OK Corral, in Tombstone, Arizona
  • October 26, 1945 Hilary Clinton born
  • October 26, 1972 Henry Kissinger declares "Peace is at hand" in Vietnam
  • October 26, 2007 Nova declares bankruptcy


NOVA - Latest News

G Education (branded as Nova) is up and running with more and more schools opening. Now is the chance for teachers to take a stand and demand a fair voice in their workplace.


General Union signs mediated agreement with G.Education & G.Communication

Settlement Agreement


Advice concerning Unemployment Insurance ('Rishokuhyo' and procedures for payments) for those who ha

All NOVA teaching staff were dismissed as of the last day of November, and were sent a ‘Rishokuhyo’ by the court-appointed receiver. Already, there should be those who are receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits.


Union Protests Mass Dimissals at G-EducationOPEN MEETING 8 January at 10:00AM at L-Osaka

NOVA OPEN MEETING 8 January 2007 at 10:00AM at L-Osaka


From General Union to ex Nova instructors and staff

No doubt you have already heard that G-Education has sprung a nasty Christmas present on those teachers (and staff?) who were waiting for formal re-hiring.



NOVA applies for Corporate Rehabilitation



If, as feared, NOVA goes bankrupt, under the government Wage Protection Fund, 80% of owed salaries are recoverable.


Union demands industry reform.NOVA problems force union to reexamine its demands for change

From the October 2007 edition of the National Union Voice


NOVA workers now have a new choice

From the National Union Voice On 30 September over 100 NOVA teachers and staff packed themselves into the small General Union offices in Temmabashi with similar numbers attending meetings over two days in Tokyo.


Mass NOVA Meeting at GU, 30 September

On 30 September over 100 NOVA teachers and staff packed themselves into the small General Union offices in Temmabashi with similar numbers attending meetings over two days in Tokyo. The big question that everyone asked was whether NOVA was going to go under.


Union members' complaint to the Labour Standards Office wins wage payment

Our claim at the Labour Standards Office over unpaid wages was very effective, and NOVA actually paid the wages. Yesterday, we were contacted by the Labour Standards Offices inspectors and were told that NOVA would pay all outstanding wages owed to teachers.


OPEN NOVA MEETING FOR TEACHERS & STAFFSunday, 30 Sept. from 8:15pm at union office in Temmabashi

This is a letter which was posted to the Japan Times in regards to an article about NOVA printed on 25 September.


Court rules English language school Nova billed student illegally

KYOTO -- English language conversation school operator Nova Co. illegally billed a student when it refused to refund her the full price she had paid for classes she didn't take, the Kyoto District Court ruled.


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