Losing koma after contract signed due to enrollment?

Is it in your employment contract that your second semester class (and your pay) could be cancelled? The General Union has found this cropping up more and more and is intent on stopping this practice, and recently we did.


Koma cuts. Don't wait for it to happen

For part-timers in particular, working at universities and private schools, a lack of job security is a very big problem. For years the General Union has been advocating a proactive approach to members in fighting against koma cuts and worsening working conditions.


ECC - Open meeting for members & friends

We are holding 2 open meetings. One in Nagoya and one in Osaka. They are open to members and non-members alike.


Are you safe at work?

Workplace health and safety awareness in language schools nationwide is quite low. Each spring the General Union ECC branch submits demands to make ECC a safer place to work.


General Union to accept donations for Tohoku Earthquake

In view of the recent disaster, the General Union has cancelled this year's Hanami party and will instead accept donations in its place.

The union will make an overall contribution on behalf of members, but we are still asking for individual donations. The General Union donations drive is part of a national campaign by our union federation, Zenrokyo, with the donations then being sent to Tohoku Zenrokyo for disbursement.

You can make a donation of any size by visiting

Training Pay Doubled- Thanks to the Union

It wasn't so long ago that training outside of your usual shift was paid at a flat 1000 yen per hour. Thanks to the concerted efforts of our members, the union was successful in winning its demands to have training paid at your regular teaching rate. That means a minimum of 2030 yen per hour!


General Union Sues Okayama City Board of Education

After many years of service as elementary school ALTs, two union members were notified by Okayama City Board of Education that their contracts would be terminated as of March 31, 2011.


First Aid Kits - small but important!

Workplace health and safety is a high priority for the ECC Branch. The union continues to push for better safety in schools.


General Union and Interac settle at the Central Labour Commission

General Union members are set to benefit from a settlement brokered by the Central Labour Commission, on February 28, 2011. Interac has agreed to negotiate with the union in good faith. We believe that this is the start of a new relationship between Interac and the General Union


General Union celebrates 15 years at ECC

In recognition of the 15 year anniversary of the General Union ECC Branch, we are making it easier to join than ever. Pay 1000 yen to cover your first 2 months of membership. After that, have your dues automatically deducted from your salary.


ECC School Evaluations - Take the survey

ECC Evaluates Teachers. The criteria are often unclear, arbitrary and subjective. The union continues to push for improvements in the system.


Open Meeting for Suita ALTs

Improve your Working Conditions Come along and find out more about your working conditions and rights! Date: Sunday, January 23 Time: 3-4pm Place: General Union Osaka Office near Temmabashi station(Tanimachi and Keihan Lines) Click here for directions.


2011 Academic Year Demands submitted to ECC

Negotiations with ECC for the 2011 Academic Year are scheduled to start on January 19th.


2010 - The ECC Branch in Review


Why did you join the union?

General Union members come from a variety of different workplaces and countries, and include people from at least six major language groups. Some join with their own individual problems, some with the idea of organizing all their coworkers into the union, and others who join just because they support unions.


Nagoya/Tokai ALTs - Open Meeting. Sunday, January 30

This will be an open meeting for all ALTs in the Nagoya area. You will have the chance to ask questions and share your concerns. There will also be an update about what the union is doing to improve working conditions of ALTs.


Tezukayama University: Mid-year koma cuts unfair

How many of you would agree to the following contract? 1. Keep a full year free to work for us. 2. If there’s work, we’ll pay you. 3. If there’s no work, we’ll pay you one month and then nothing more. Unfortunately, many university teachers are having to sign such contracts.


Epion Teacher Survey

Interested in maintaining and improving working conditions at Epion? Have your say by taking our survey.


Seibo Jogakuin: Pre-consultation system

Are you worried about possible changes to your working conditions in the following year? Are you even more worried that these changes will occur with little or no notice? General Union members at Seibo now have a little less to worry about.


Welcome to the Schools and Colleges Branch

Ever seen these three letters, SAC, and wondered what they stood for?


What's Gaba trying to hide?

Gaba has blocked the union website from their company computers, is withholding registered union mail from instructors and counselors alike at the LS and has demanded several union members neither discuss union activities nor distribute union literature at the workplace.


Nova union member's job protected

A long term Nova employee and union member was recently non-renewed for the second time in six months, and for the second time we have been able to protect his job and force the company to renew his contract.


Gaba Branch Organizing Committee

Adrian (Chair)

I am from Australia, and have been working for Gaba since April 2006. I work in the Futakotamagawa Learning Studio. I have been a union member since November 2008, and I notified the company of my membership in November 2009.

I joined the union because I believe that we all deserve decent working conditions, and that workers acting together is the best way to achieve this.


Robert (Secretary)

I am from Jamaica and I've been with the company since 2003 and have worked at various learning studios. I, just as every instructor, would like to have improved working conditions, fair treatment for everyone and a healthy and rewarding relationship with the company. This can only happen through communication and being proactive.

Within the current framework, individual instructors cannot effectively represent themselves with the company. We are all in the same boat and whatever changes take place affect each and every one of us. The union is one of the main channels through which we can collectively effect a positive change, not only for ourselves but for all parties involved.


Union demands that the IC Timecard replacement fee be abolished!

The ECC branch is set to negotiate over the replacement fee for lost or damaged IC Timecards.


Instructors win right to union representation

In December 2009 the Osaka Labor Commission made a ruling that confirmed Gaba instructors have the right to union representation under Trade Union Law. Gaba attempted to appeal the decision at the Central Labor Commission but the appeal has been rejected this week. The ruling stands. Gaba instructors have rights under Trade Union Law.


ECC - Goodbye Timecards! Beware!

ECC is implementing changes to the manner in which working hours will be recorded. Several members have already raised their concerns to the union. Members are worried that they will no longer have access to a copy of their punch in and out times.


Berlitz FAQ

How much notice does the company request when taking paid vacation?

For paid vacation requests of less than 5 days, the company suggests at least one week’s notice.
For paid vacation requests of more than 5 days, the company suggests at least one month’s notice.
However, the company can be flexible on this. If your requests are not being acted on in a timely manner, please contact your union representative.


A new forum for ECC union members

The union and ECC have started labour-management discussions (Collective Agreement 2010.4.26) giving members the opportunity to express their concerns, opinions, and suggestions directly to management.


Block/ASM Meetings & Buffer Days- New Collective Agreement Signed

ECC has agreed to avoid the confusion experienced regarding block meetings.

The union and ECC have recently signed a collective agreement that will see ECC provide at least 10 days notice regarding start and finish times and working locations for Block/ASM meetings and buffer days. When ECC is unable to meet these deadlines they will inform the union without delay.


Water Coolers- New Agreement Signed

The union has won the installation of water coolers in schools with limited access to water.

ECC has agreed to provide water coolers in schools where the only access to water is in the toilets. Many schools have shared kitchen facilities with other tenants. If you are still without water at your school, please let the union know.

Additional information