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

From the October 2007 edition of the National Union Voice

From the October 2007 edition of the National Union Voice Recent demands made by NOVA unions to secure student refunds for cancelled lessons, automatically renewable contracts, and immediate enrolment in Shakai Hoken are not enough to stop the rot in the language teaching industry. Negotiating with an employer that fears bankruptcy but refuses to reform itself will not in itself lead to industry-wide changes, especially if the other industry employers fail to recognize they are essentially the same as NOVA. For too long, GEOS, AEON, Berlitz, and ECC have mimicked NOVA‘s business style while boasting of their own better treatment of students and teachers. The unions must now push companies to stop copying a failed business model and move in a new direction which respects the needs of students, teachers and staff. On September 28, the General Union and Tokyo Nambu made demands to Zengaikyo, an industry organization which comprises AEON, ECC, and Berlitz along with some smaller companies. The unions’ demands are simple and will go along way towards improving student and worker confidence in these companies. 1. Establish an insurance system payable into by all companies in order to guarantee student refunds in the case of bankruptcy. 2. In coordination with the union, create more opportunities for training and skills development for teachers to improve the educational quality of language schools. 3. End one year contracts and establish open-ended employment for teachers as well as total enrolment in Shakai Hoken (health and pension insurance) and total compliance with all relevant labour laws in order to make a workplace that attracts and retains motivated workers. An agreement between the unions, employers, and student organizations is now needed to restore teacher and student confidence in this industry. The union hopes to impress upon these companies the need for a total overhaul of the industry.

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