Schools and Colleges

Two wins for Ichishin cram school workers

On June 25th, the Tokyo Labor Relations Commission ruled in favor of the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Tobu, Ichishin Gakuin Local, finding that Ichishin Gakuin, a major cram school, illegal refused to extend the annual contracts of two union members and refused to allow the union president to teach a class, in an attempt to weaken the union.

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Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease & The Case For Paid Sick Leave

The General Union has received news that an outbreak of "Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease" (HFMD) - a highly contagious intestinal virus that children in particular are at risk from - has been reported at a notable  so-called "international school".

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Another win in our fight against Takastuki Board of Education

As we prepare to meet Takatsuki BoE representatives across the table at the Osaka Labor Commission in a few days, we have received notice of one victory.

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English education in disarray at Takatsuki City schools

English education in Takatsuki City elementary schools is in disarray after a series of disastrous choices, stemming from a long history of mismanagement, were made by the city Board of Education.

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Osaka University plans to dismiss 162 long term employees

Osaka University, which was selected by the state for the “super global university project”, is moving ahead with its plan to dismiss 162 non-regular workers.

The targeted 162 workers have been working for more than 10 years under fixed-term contracts in various university positions, such as library and accounting staff positions, which require specialized skills and experience. Among university staff, there is growing concern that a massive dismissal of skilled workers will affect university operations.

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First wins in Takatsuki City AET fight

For those of you following this case we are happy to report two victories. Though just a first step in our fight with Takatsuki Board of Education, it is a good start.

Since beginning to negotiate with the BoE in late 2014, bureaucrats have taken the line that our members are not employees. This is despite their contracts clearly stating it is an employment contract. The Board of Education also arranged regular employee visas for AETs, and deducted taxes from their salaries like regular employees. Amongst the “misinformation” the BoE have been giving is that AETs are "ambassadors" and not workers.

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Kun'ei Girls High Schoool Negotiations

This evening saw the first round of collective bargaining between our branch at Kun'ei Girls High School and representatives of the school's administration. After a short debriefing session, our members sat down for a chat to discuss the school's responses and their general impressions.

 

 

City Councillors Support Takatsuki AETs

 

In a show of solidarity, members of different unions from  across Kansai came out to support our March 11 demonstration over the unfair firing of members at Takatsuki Board of Education. Over 10 sister unions sent representatives. From the General Union we also had supporters from our Kansai Gaidai, Doshisha Kori, ECC, Industrial & Commercial, and Nichibei branches.

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Takatsuki city out of control. Cancels contract with sister city and in breach of AET's employment contracts

Takatsuki City, under their sister-city contract with the city of Toowoomba, has been inviting AETs from Australia for the past twenty years to teach in their public elementary schools. While these teachers sign employment contracts, have taxes withheld and obtain working visas, the city has refused to follow the Labor Standards Law or to enroll them in compulsory public insurance by claiming that they are not employees. They have committed multiple violations of law: AETs are given no annual leave, and are not enrolled in Workers’ Compensation, Employment Insurance or health insurance. Also, the accommodations allotted to them by the City are of inferior quality, though high rents are charged, and to make matters worse AETs were forced to live there.

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Nagoya Gaidai: GU wins improved working conditions for language tutors.

Negotiate to winThe General Union branch at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies (NUFS) has made steady progress over the last year,  in particular by improving working conditions for PUT tutors. These are part-time teachers, working on language programs, who are paid on a per-lesson basis. This means that if teachers are unable to teach classes for any reason, for example sickness or classes cancelled because of typhoons, they have not been paid. Unlike most part-time university teachers, including those at NUFS the nature of the program makes it difficult for them to teach make-up classes and they are not paid for the summer, winter and spring breaks.

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Osaka C-NETs: A two tier system!

 

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Osaka C-NETs seek to improve working conditions

After months of preparation, we are happy to announce the formation of our new union branch at Osaka City Board of Education. Known as Osaka C-NETs, the branch consists of Native English Teachers (NETS) who teach alongside Japanese English teachers.

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Osaka C-NET Demands

Here is a list of the demands that have been submitted to the Osaka City Board of Education. We expect we first negotiations to be in the coming month.

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C-NETs Executive Committee

Will L. (Chair)

I'm William from the East Midlands in England, and I've been working as an Osaka C-NET since August 2013. I was born and raised in the UK trade union system and I've been with the General Union since July 2014.

 

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Kansai International School forced to pay

Kansai International School/Sakura International School is notorious for its paid holiday system. Now someone has finally done something about it.

After consulting the union, one teacher applied to use her remaining paid holidays when resigning from the company. This is your right. Rather than being intimidated by the company’s refusal to pay and stopping there, the teacher took action.

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March scramble for classes

A large number of university and high school teachers are part-time workers. And as you know, the annual ritual of waiting around to hear about new schedules can be a nerve racking time. Will you receive the same number of classes? Will the school try to change your working days? What will you be teaching? Will the schedule from School A be available in time to arrange your schedule at School B?

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Third strike at Osaka Gaigo leads to mediation application

How do you deal with an employer that is like a deer frozen in your headlights in the middle of a highway? Welcome to Osaka Gaigo Senmon Gakko.

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Osaka Gaigo: Strike 2

Standard - gaigo strikeOn October the 10th eleven members of the General Union and Naniwa union working at Osaka Gaigo Senmon Gakko staged a half day strike for a 5% pay increase and a bonus payment of at least one months wages twice yearly. The strike united Japanese and foreign workers, office workers and teachers and workers on temporary and permanent contracts.

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Kansai Gaidai - 15 out leafleting!

The past year has seen enormous growth in our branch at Kansai Gadai but members are keen to see numbers increase even more - there is strength in unity.

This morning, fifteen people were out spreading news of the union to non-members at the entrance to the university. Twelve Kansai Gaidai teachers were supported by three members of the General Union Executive Committee.

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11 July. Strike at Osaka Gaigo.

While Japanese and foreign members at Osaka Gaigo extended last week's strike deadline in hopes of a better offer from their employer by 9 July, management's weak offer will lead to a Thursday, 11 July strike.

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No Borders International School

 Having asked their employer to enroll them in health & pension (shakai hoken) and unemployment insurance, teachers became frustrated when No Borders insisted that teachers pay ridiculously high premiums. The premiums were so inflated that we suspect No Borders was attempting to have teachers pay the company's part of the premiums.

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It’s a matter of dignity – Opinion Piece

I work at one of the "better" high schools. It is that is basically a feeder school to a few universities in the Kansai region. As a part-timer, or hijokin in Japanese, I am treated well enough. I'm even enrolled in health and pension insurance.

All that changed this week as I attempted to prepare for the new semester. With a rebuilding program almost completed, we moved into new classrooms and offices.

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Working in an elementary, junior, senior high school?

For many years the General Union has organised workers at private elementary, junior and senior high schools. In the recent period the situation in many of these workplaces has become dire and we have had many consultations and requests for help from teachers. While as a union we have been able to win individual victories and defend conditions for groups of our members, working conditions have continued to deteriorate for teachers across the sector.

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Taking back our rights! Open meeting for school teachers

For many years the General Union has had members at Elementary, Junior High and High Schools. More recently, the situation has become dire with a large number of consultations from private schools in particular. The falling number of school age students has led to a savage competition between schools, in particular private schools. School administrations have attempted to compete by-and-large by asking for longer hours and more commitment from teachers, while at the same time often worsening pay and conditions.

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General Union members gear up for third annual 'hands off our koma' campaign

Now is the time of the year that the major private universities are planning changes in curricula and classes for the 2013 academic year. For the last couple of years the General Union has been declaring part-time members at these universities and submitting demands for no-reduction in the number of koma or worsening of working conditions for General Union members.

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Strike vote first, then negotiate

Last week the union had a great round of negotiations at one of the workplaces we represent. We can't put out all the details yet, but we can tell you a little.

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Ashiya Gakuen teachers organize to protect their rights

In October of last year a number of full-time English teachers at Ashiya Gakuen High School joined the General Union and formed a union branch at their school. Teachers had read in the school's recruitment literature for next year that for certain courses the school planned to have native English speakers as homeroom teachers.

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Union membership pays off at Polaris Kindergarten

Ever wondered what being a union member can do for you?

When a member at Polaris Kindergarten recently quit their job with 1-month notice as stated in their contract, the company objected and refused to pay the outstanding salary. After just a few letters and phone calls, we are happy to report that the member has now received their outstanding monies.

GU won the absence allowance for cancellation of part-time classes after the term started, for low enrollment

GU won the absence allowance for cancellation of part-time classes after the term started, for low enrollment, etc. as “reasons attributable to the employer” (according to Article 26 of the Labour Standards Law)

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New union branches at Ashiya Gakuen High & Kansai Gaidai

New branches of the General Union have been formed at Ashiya Gakuen High-School where teachers are fighting to prevent a worsening of their working conditions and Kansai Gaidai where full-time contract teachers have issues regarding contract renewals.

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