Private Language Schools

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.

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Suing Nippon Steel - update

As many of you know, the General Union is suing Nippon Steel Sumikin Intercom (NSSI) over the illegal dismissal of two workers. At first the company claimed restructuring, however we have found evidence of the company advertising positions that our members could have done.

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A Christmas for Everyone

Christmas is for everyone. It may seem a little early to write about Christmas now, but at this time in 2013 Gaba Corporation were planning last year’s company Christmas party. Unfortunately instructors were not invited, which the union officially protested in negotiations with the company. Consequently, in June the union asked the company to invite instructors this time.

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Berlitz Branch Officers and Representatives

Joe M. (Chair - Umeda)

As a long term employee at Berlitz I take great interest in the direction of the company and the well being of my colleagues.

Being branch chair allows me to represent our members and ensure our voice is heard on an even footing.

 

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Achim R . (Nagoya)

Coming soon. Coming soon. Coming soon. Coming soon. Coming soon. Coming soon. Coming soon. Coming soon.

 

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Jools C. (Umeda)

I joined the General Union in 2002 and have witnessed some fundamental improvements in working conditions due to persistent union activity.

Our union brings change that goes far beyond the workplace and has a direct impact on society.

This keeps me focused on our overall long term goals.

 

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Ricky B. (Sannomiya, Ashiya, Nishinomiya & Hiroshima)

Hi, My name is Ricky and I have been with Berlitz since January 2000.

In that time I have seen many changes both beneficial and not so for employees and staff.

Recently I decided to step up to the plate and join the General Union as I felt the changes were now more detrimental to a suitable working environment for staff and teachers.

As an executive officer and local representative for Sannomiya, Ashiya & Nishinomiya I am here for you.

I strongly believe that a better working environment for staff and teachers is essential so don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or even wish to just chat about things in general.

My door and email address is always open for you.

***

Ross R. (Umeda)

I’ve been with the union for over 10 years. 

I’m a member of the Berlitz Branch and work mainly in the Umeda Language Center.

I’m a strong believer in keeping workplace accountability to its employees high and the union has served that purpose well. 

I’m happy to listen to your workplace concerns and pass them along to the right person.

Strike wins Pay Raise, Lump Sum Payment at ECC

After months of negotiations with ECC and a one-day strike, General Union members have won the reinstatement of annual pay increases for full-time teachers, and a lump sum payment.

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Shimbashi LS Evacuation Poster Updated

At negotiations last week the General Union Gaba Branch asked the company a number of questions about emergency preparations, and showed a photo of the evacuation procedure poster in Shimbashi Learning Studio, which has been on the wall lacking an evacuation point for over 12 months. The company followed up on this and as seen below, there is now an evacuation point displayed at Shimbashi LS. The company is going to follow up all other LSs and ensure that they all have emergency posters with evacuation locations.

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Union asks Gaba to improve poor safety preparations

On March 11th, 2011 the fifth biggest earthquake ever recorded occurred east of Tohoku. Nearly 16,000 people died, over 2,600 are still missing and almost 130,000 buildings totally collapsed.

Instructors who were working that day know that Gaba Corporation was almost completely unprepared for this event, and the company's response was chaotic at best.

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Fairness in the workplace - A Berlitz story

Disciplinary procedures and student complaints can cause a lot of stress for many teachers. Teachers are sent into a room alone to face people who are in a position of power and often feel bullied into signing statements of guilt with no time to consider what is happening or get advice.

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Panasonic Excel, “We don’t sign collective agreements with minority unions.”

What arrogance!

And with this the company wanted us just to have a “gentlemen's agreement” in regards to consulting the union BEFORE changes are made to members' working conditions.

For many years the union and Panasonic Excel International had a relatively smooth relationship and we were able to work out many problems which our members faced, but now, with the non-renewal of the branch chair, it’s hard to believe that Excel expects a smooth working relationship with the union.

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Sexual Harassment at Gaba Corporation in the news

Last week the Japan Times published an article dealing with the issue of sexual harassment at Gaba Corporation. It featured interviews with a number of Gaba instructor who gave their accounts of sexual harassment while working at Gaba. The stories were horrific, and something that no one should ever have to put up with.

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ECC Teachers Strike: Pay Freeze NO! Pay Raise YES!

After several rounds of Collective Bargaining with ECC, members in Chubu and Kansai were left with no option but to start industrial action and strike on Saturday, May 31st. The union had been negotiating with ECC management over Pay Increases, Annual Contract Completion Bonuses, Job Security, Teacher Evaluations and more. As Collective Bargaining proceeded ECC`s answers went from bad to worse.

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Coco Juku ordered to pay up

As a result of General Union demands, Nichii Gakkan, Coco Juku’s parent company, has ordered Coco Juku to follow Article 23 of the Labor Standards Law. Full details were sent to the union in official documents on May 7.

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Privacy protection - You don't need to let Gaba staff photograph your ID with their own phone

We like to think that we're all pretty tech savy, security conscious and not easily led. That being said, I know how easy it can be to agree to something that makes you feel a little uneasy, just to avoid the hassle of kicking up a fuss.

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Gaba Branch Spring Party 2014 - Spring Smash!

On Sunday April 13th the Gaba branch had its fifth social event in the last 18 months. We held our first Christmas party at The Pink Cow in Roppongi in December 2012, then Hanami in Yoyogi Park in April 2013. We then relocated to What The Dickens in Ebisu, a great British pub and live space only a few minutes from Ebisu station.

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Harassing Gaba clients can be blocked - Here is how:

Many instructors are not aware that clients can be blocked, and think that they simply have to put up with bad treatment. This impression leads to problems, particularly in regards to sexual harassment from clients.  

It is now well established that the quality of support that instructors receive when reporting incidents of sexual harassment is patchy at best. As such, the union brought it up as an issue in 2013 negotiations and has been pursuing the issue ever since.

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General Union Gaba Branch appoints Sexual Harassment Officers

In response to a number of incidents where Gaba instructors had been sexually harassed by clients, the union decided to investigate the issue, and conducted a survey to gauge the prevalence. 

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Protecting personal information at Gaba

The union had received reports that some Gaba staff have not been following the company’s procedures and protecting instructors' information adequately.

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Gaba lesson record Mindflash training: "NOT mandatory"

In case instructors were wondering, despite the impression given by the latest MGI post on March 18th, the Mindflash training for the new lesson record system is not mandatory, and instructors cannot be forced to do it. If you receive any coercion to do so, please report it to the union so we can take up the case.

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Teaching math at Coco Juku?

Coco Juku is a new eikaiwa/English school chain that launched with a lot of fanfare in 2013. It is owned by Nichi Gakkan, that also happens to own Gaba.

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No pay increases at ECC – Yet!

All instructors should be aware that ECC will be mailing out your new contracts shortly. Please note that you will not be advised of your hourly pay increase. Unlike other years, ECC has prolonged negotiations.

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Berlitz members meet to plan bargaining strategy

Standard - negotiateGeneral Union members at Berlitz will meet this Sunday, 16 February to plan their third round of collective bargaining. Current demands include a 7% pay increase, pay for lock ups, union representation at disciplinary hearings, and pay for work done before, between, and after lessons; along with others.

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Making a good job better - 2013 In Review

2013 was a very good year for the General Union Gaba branch. It was different to all previous years for the agreements that we managed to make with the company and in the amount of social activities we organized to bring instructors together. We’re looking forward to making 2014 another year where we make a good job better – and we would love to have your help.

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ECC Branch: Some of our many achievements

The General Union and ECC have been negotiating for nearly 20 years. The latest Labour Agreement won as part of the 2013 Shunto (Spring Offensive) gives union members more protection against non-renewal. ECC has signed off on renewing members’ contracts unless there are exceptional reasons. This is a huge victory as contract renewals have been a long term concern for members.

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Santa wants to know why!

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Gaba's Slap in the Face to Instructors

Gaba Corporation has decided to hold a year-end party at Tokyo’s prestigious Imperial Hotel for all their Kanto region staff, and as such they have closed all 30 Kanto Learning Studios for the last three lessons on Sunday December 15th.

Unfortunately, you, I and the thousand or so other instructors are not invited.

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Improving workers' lives at Berlitz since 1993

Many of the working conditions that you now enjoy have been negotiated between the General Union and Berlitz:

  • Enrollment in Unemployment Insurance for MG teachers.
  • Enrollment in Health and Pension Insurance (shakai hoken) for those working 30+ hours per week.
  • Paid holidays for MG and per lesson teachers. (collective agreements 1994 & 1999)
  • Premium pay of 25% overtime and 35% for work on a set rest day.(collective agreement 1994)
  • Right to refuse work on a set rest day or national holiday(collective agreement 1996)
  • Pre-consultation agreement with the union before terminating, transferring or changing the working conditions of any union member.(collective agreement 1994)
  • Grievances dealing with dismissals, health insurance, unfair treatment of teachers.

 

 

ECC and Gaba hold Christmas parties; teachers considered second class and not invited

Two of the largest English School chains, Gaba and ECC, have held, or are about to hold Christmas parties. Unfortunately, regular teachers/instructors are not invited! The companies have invited both school and office staff in appreciation of their hard work but fail to recognize the hard work put in by teachers. ECC teachers were left to look at pictures of a luxury hotel party posted on Facebook by their coworkers.

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Gaba Branch Update - November 2013

October was a very sad and unusual month for the General Union Gaba Branch, with the disappearance of member Pascal Burel while hiking. The branch had never experienced anything like this before, but Pascal's fellow members, friends and coworkers rallied around to raise money and spread the word about the search. While the situation is very bad, and we hope nothing like this ever occurs again, the union managed to play a role in raising the profile of the case and helping to financially support the search.

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"Unexcused" absences: Cold and Flu season at Gaba

'Twas the night before Christmas, and in every LS,

We could hear the sound of instructors trying to suppress,

Their coughing and sniffling with the greatest of care,

Thinking to themselves that this wasn’t quite fair.

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OTC - Organizing drive begins

OTC members have been busy writing a new leaflet outlining the branches achievements over the past few years at OTC. We've done well - health and pension insurance, unemployment insurance, paid FLEXIBLE annual leave, as well as solving a host of individual grievances such as study leave, resignation procedures etc.

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Additional information