Letter from America about Peppy Kids

I am no longer an employee of Peppy Kids. However, it warms my heart that there is such action being taken to create a worker's union. I am an American citizen back in America now, but I still very much love Japan. I left Peppy Kids club, but I strongly feel that if there was a union in place, me and other people that I know would still be actively employed with Peppy Kids. As an American, I know that many Americans take for granted the progresses that were made as a result of union interventions in the U.S. workplace throughout history.


August 19, Okayama Meeting For Peppy Kids Teachers

More and more people, Japanese and native teachers alike, are contacting us about the union. We will be holding a series of open meetings so people can hear more about the union and what our aims are. It will also be a chance for you ask questions and give input about how you would like to see working conditions at PKC improve.


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.


Branch declared, demands submitted, negotiations August 6

The union has officially declared our new branch to management at Peppy Kids Club. Our members include both Japanese and foreign teachers alike, and we seek to improve the working conditions of all employees at Peppy.

The first round of negotiations will take place in Nagoya on August 6. Mr Katsuji Yamahara will represent the union, along with teachers working at PKC. If you are a member and would like to attend, please contact us for further information.


ECC Union History - 1996 ALP Win

February 26, 1996 General Union ECC Branch declared. The first demands were:


Take the ECC Typhoon Survey

The union is far from impressed with ECC's latest decision to keep teachers and staff at schools as Typhoon Guchol approached the Japanese coastline. Out of concerns for student safety, all classes in the Kinki district were cancelled. However, employee safety does not seem to be a priority for ECC, with all full-time teachers and staff ordered to stay at schools despite classes having been cancelled.


Panasonic Excel teachers demand job security and pay increases

General Union members working at Panasonic Excel have submitted new demands for collective bargaining and hope to begin negotiations in July. Teachers joined the union in 2002 when they had unilaterally been moved from one employer to another inside the then Matsushita group and suffering a massive pay cut.


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.


Working at Peppy Kids Club?

Teachers at Peppy Kids Club are getting ready to launch a union. We want your input. The union is open to both foreign and Japanese staff alike. We believe that if both groups work together conditions can be improved. Please encourage your JTs to take the survey too. 働き方アンケート


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.


More reason to join than ever

The General Union GABA branch was established in 2007. With the recent change of ownership and management at the company, we are looking forward to better things in the future. In April, the union and GABA signed an agreement resolving the various legal cases that have been filed over the last few years. GABA has also agreed to negotiate in good faith to improve working conditions. The first negotiating session was held on May 28th 2012.


Union wins Special Leave at ECC

The General Union has negotiated the introduction of Special Leave for full-time instructors. You can now take the following unpaid special leave on application to personnel.


Joining the GU: Now more than ever, no time to waste

DON’T WAIT FOR A PROBLEM TO JOIN: THE TIME IS NOW! One person’s problem could very well become yours in the near future; this may sound cliché, but it is very true indeed.


Workers' rights to strike upheld Court denies all of Berlitz Japan's claims against union

During 2008’s shunto spring labour offensive, Berlitz General Union Tokyo (Begunto) demanded the first base pay increase in 16 years and began a long-term surgical strike campaign. 

Berlitz management, however, claimed the strike’s purpose was to hurt the company rather than realize the demands, and sued the parent union, National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu; Begunto; Nambu President;  Deputy General Secretary; and five Begunto executives for alleged damages of 110 million yen.


Hanami Party, Sunday April 8th - 1pm

It's that time of year again - time for getting together and enjoying spring at our annual Hamami party by the river. This year we are having Brazilian BBQ!


ECC School Director Evaluation Changes - Take the online survey

ECC is proposing changes to the contents of school director evaluations. The union believes that the consensus of all employees at ECC is necessary to implement the changes.


GABA Does About Face: Rehires Branch Chair, Drops Lawsuits

In October 2011, as GABA was taken over by Nichii Gakkan, management decided to do a spot of union-busting and fired Francis Strange, the chair of the GU GABA branch. This was in addition to previously suing the union for 58 million yen for libel, plus suing the Japanese government for recognizing instructors as employees.

We are now happy to report that things are moving in the union’s favor. Firstly, GABA’s claim of libel against the union was found to be baseless, with the case being dismissed on 15 November 2011.


Anti-Nuclear Power Parade (Nagoya, Saturday March 10)

Aichi Zenrokyo, our local union federation, has asked that the General Union Tokai branch come along and show their support at a parade against nuclear power.


ECC Shunto "Spring" Negotiations Update

The first round of the shunto "spring" negotiations were held on Feb 28. ECC has agreed to the majority of the union's 2012 demands.


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.

Union membership pays off at Interac

Ever wondered what being a union member can do for you? Here's two recent examples.


Annual Leave at ECC- How many days do you get?

Note:This information is a guide only. Contact your union rep for further advice before consulting ECC.


Shunto negotiation demands submitted to ECC

The ECC branch has voted to submit demands for negotiations later this month. Talks will center around job security and the introduction of special leave.


ECC Nagoya Recruiting Drive

General Union ECC members have launched a new recruiting drive aimed at increasing membership in and around, Nagoya.

The General Union has a long history at ECC. Flexible paid holidays, the end of the ALP lottery system, and shakai hoken enrollment are just some of the big achievements the ECC branch has negotiated.


"No hands" Policy! – Opinion piece

Sitting in my staffroom the other afternoon, I cringed as I watched a Japanese colleague repeatedly hit a student over the head quite forcefully. It took me back to my teacher training days.

When I completed my elementary school teacher training back in the ‘80s, the most popular professor constantly drummed it into our heads: “No hands, no touch of any kind.“ He also told all the males “Never be alone in a classroom with less than 10 students.”


OTC – Teachers decide negotiation points for 2012

Spring is the traditional time for Japanese unions to negotiate improvements in working conditions. Called “shunto” in Japanese, it translates as Spring Labor Offensive. Right across Japan unions, big and small, are now deciding what demands they will be submitting to employers. Here in Osaka, teachers at OTC have been discussing teacher development.


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)


Negotiation deadlock broken at ECC

The union's strategy of applying for mediation with the Osaka Labour Relations Commission has achieved its purpose- breaking the negotiation deadlock with ECC.


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.


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.


Additional information