Kun'ei teachers win computers and pay rises

First the computers. That's right. Computers. Four shiny new Apple computers for union members, after many years of having to supply their own. Our members couldn't believe their eyes when they were delivered. It's not something you usually see in the union news, but material conditions at work are things that the union can negotiate for and win. Often when members are sitting down to consider demands, especially when pay and other working conditions are not too bad, we often forget the physical environment in which we work. Bigger desks? Better lockers? Computers? Research funds? These are all things that you should consider, even though they are often considered to be 'non-traditional' demands, but they are things which can improve your work performance and your physical comfort at work.

Now, the cash.

Union members hadn't had an increase in a number of years and to remedy this we asked for a minimum yearly increase of 150 thousand yen. What did the school say? They said what all employers of one year contract workers say, "The teachers all have individual one year contracts and are therefore subject subject to a pay rise based only on evaluation."

Well, aside from the fact that our members have no idea of how they're evaluated, AND that they hadn't had a pay  rise in a number of years, school management kept repeating the same old excuse. Except that we also heard another one, which we'd say is the real reason.

They told us that there are many one year contracted Japanese teachers and they never get a pay rise. Giving the union a victory like this would encourage the Japanese teachers to organise, too.

The employer understood very clearly that they were stuck. They knew that their reasoning was akin to refusing to bargain with the union in good faith, and clearly against the Trade Union Law.

So what did they do? They made individual pay increases to each member. While as a union we weren't pleased that they wouldn't negotiate with the union, we were pleased that members got a pay increase.

So for this year we've left it there along with a warning to the school that we will continue to demand pay increases in the future, and we will not be so flexible the next time.






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