AEON - 150,000 reasons to be happy

Back in June we reported on an AEON teacher who had received a small amount of overtime pay from the company once they knew the union was on to the case. However, after the union completed a detailed calculation of the true amount owed, it was clear that AEON was still shortchanging the teacher.


ECC Executive Officers (2018)


Nathan H. (Branch Chair)

I joined the Union to pay my dues, meaning that the Union got me shakai hoken, and it was time to pay the Union back for what it got me.

I started to learn that a lot of the things I may have taken for granted, like paid holidays, social insurance, and pay increases, were a direct result of Union work.

I joined and didn't just sit back - I wanted to be an active part to help others.

I wanted to listen and learn, and through negotiations, bargaining, and strikes, I see that it is possible to make a difference by standing together as a workforce.

I try to know as much as I can about every member of our branch, and I truly care about them all; their difficulties, their health, and their families.

I feel honored to represent them and will do so to the best of my abilities.

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ecc alexis mAlexis M. (Chubu)

I joined ECC just last year (2017). I’m from Canada and being a part of a union was a no brainer for me. At all my previous jobs in Canada, you’re automatically enrolled in your union.

I was surprised when I had to find out from colleagues that ECC does in fact have one.

In Canada, I’ve held positions on collective bargaining units both for my university and employer. I know the work and dedication that goes into being a part of a union and I want to make working conditions and pay fair for all.

I’m mostly interested in representing the new 35 hour contract teachers and make some positive changes.

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ecc andrea mAndrea M. (Kinki)

I have been teaching at ECC since early 2017.

I am a strong supporter of worker's rights and feel that joining the Union makes a tangible, positive difference to working conditions.

I hope that during my time on the Executive Committee, I will be able to represent my peers and negotiate change.

We are stronger together.

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Chris P. (Kinki)

I’m from Britain. Joined ECC in 1991. Joined the union in 2014. Have taught all kinds of classes, especially Senka, worked in the textbook writing department, and was Senka coordinator for 17 years.

In 2017 the company suddenly dissolved the Senka coordinator position, leaving me with a significant salary cut.

The union stepped in, and with the support of all our members, we were able to resolve the issue. Without the union we have no countering voice.

With the union we can stand up for ourselves and fight for some fairness, security, and parity.

That’s why I’m a member.

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ecc dory c stockDory C. (Kinki)

Though I don't have a long history with unions, I came to the company hearing about all the union has done for employees.

When the bottom line is profit, unions are essential in protecting worker rights. Though the union exists for the workers, I've found many people have gone through things they shouldn't have because they weren't aware of their rights.

The union exists to protect workers from struggling alone, and it's essential for the future.

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Fred H. (Chubu)

Born in raised in California, I came to Japan to work with ECC in 2016 and joined the General Union shortly thereafter.

I joined ECC primarily because its working conditions and other benefits outshine those of its competitors; and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a lot of what made it a competitive company to apply for a job with was due to the efforts of the General Union.

In addition, I discovered that some of the most passionate and helpful instructors in the company were proud union members.

Because of all that, I reject the old line that unions hurt the success and profitability of companies - unions are one of the only checks that guarantee a company retains its dignity and dedication to quality service and motivated workers.

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James S. (Chubu)

As a long-time employee of ECC, I have seen firsthand the positive impact that the Union has made.

I have seen us function not just as a focused group for negotiating with the company, but also a personal support group and information center for our members as they deal with life in a different culture.

The value of that kind of security can't be underestimated.

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Jeremy P. (Kinki)

I've had jobs in several industries and the difference between industries with a strong union or a weak one is huge.

I joined the General Union because a strong union is the only way to guarantee fair working conditions and treatment for employees.

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ecc joe g stockJoe G. (Kinki)

I'm from the U.S. and I've worked at the same school in Japan for over 10 years.

I joined the union because I wanted to ensure teachers' at my workplace were being treated with reasonable amounts of respect and dignity, and to help create a better workplace for myself and my co-workers.

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ecc micah gMicah G. (Kinki)

I'm from the US and started at ECC as teaching staff in March of 2017. ECC is my day job - my (late) night job is as a practicing corporate attorney.

I have worked for a few large companies in the US, but have whittled my practice down to just one business owned by friends (and various one-offs).

During the years I've spent as an attorney, I've seen firsthand the difference a strong union makes for the lives of its members.

Not only that, I've seen how the changes a strong union brings about can make a company more profitable.

I hope that we can keep making ECC and the GU stronger.

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ecc miguel e stockMiguel E. (Chubu)

I’ve been a teacher at ECC since 2007, but a General Union member only since fairly recently.

Teaching may be a calling, but the best things about ECC that made this a viable job - training pay, shakai hoken, special care leave, and so much more, all proudly touted at our job interviews and workshops - are all thanks to the GU's efforts.

A company that decided to freeze the salaries of its native staff IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE.

So who is on your side?

Some of the company’s most experienced and passionate teachers, the friendliest and most helpful people I have had the privilege to meet and work with. Most importantly, their voices are my voice.

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Owen K. (Kinki)

I came to ECC through an in-country, part-time, dispatch route - something not very common.

It wasn't long after taking on a full-time position that I found the problems I was facing weren't happening despite the company's efforts, but more because of them.

Through the Union, the support network I needed was there, something that I am now a part of myself.

I came in from the fringes and less-traveled roads, and you will find me there still, representing the many of us who work in the diverse and lesser-known parts of the company.

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ecc thomas bThomas B. (Chubu)

I’m from Canada, and have been at ECC for over 13 years.

My family have been strong union supporters for several generations, so I was happy to find there was an effective union helping workers at ECC when I came to Japan.

I feel that a union is especially important for people working in a foreign country, where it is not always easy to learn about our legal rights, and can also provide a community where the members can support each other.


What is a "break" Berlitz?

Berlitz Kansai union members have taken a stand and voted to push ahead to win payment for the 5 minute interval between lessons. Berlitz calls it a break but a break presumes that it is time off to relax. The interval between lessons at Berlitz is very much work – unpaid work.


Berlitz teachers demand to be paid for all work

Download in pdf format.
Read more about the issues

Are you happy with the ECC training system?

Nationwide instructors have been contacting the General Union unhappy about the current training system. Isn't it time you did something about your working conditions?


It's on - the Berlitz Branch Summer BBQ

Date - Sunday August 3rd 2008

Time - from 2pm

Place - Temmabashi, Osaka by the river (Keihan and Tannimachi train lines)


AEON Leafletting Brings Results

After just a few days of leafleting at AEON Nagoya training sessions, management is running scared.

Union member receives overtime pay

Before the union had time to formally demand overtime pay for our members, management has suddenly paid one member's overtime. Some Aeon managers will say you are not entitled to paid overtime. So why did they pay our members overtime? Japanese labour law clearly states that all overtime must be paid for.


AEON does about face over housing issue

Ever wondered about leaving AEON housing? It isn't uncommon for teachers to be told this is impossible, that they must continue to pay rent until the end of their employment contract. This is untrue and a violation of housing laws.


AEON Nagoya does about face over housing

Ever wondered about leaving AEON housing? It isn't uncommon for teachers to be told this is impossible, that they must continue to pay rent until the end of their employment contract. This is untrue and a violation of housing laws.


AEON Nagoya Leafletting Brings Results

After just a few days of leafletting at AEON Nagoya training sessions, management is changing its tune.

Union member receives overtime pay

Before the union had time to formally demand overtime pay for our members, management has suddenly paid one member's overtime.


The union in smaller workplaces

Most of the news that we report at the General Union is the bigger cases but we do a lot of work at smaller companies too. Here is one such case.


ECC - The Issues

Why 100 yen? Starting salaries for full-time instructors have remained constant since the 29.5 hour contract was introduced ten years ago.


GABA Teachers Win a Pay Increase!

GABA teachers have unionized and are seeing direct results. Shortly into negotiations the company announced an across the board increase of 100yen per lesson for teachers: an increase of over 6% for the lowest paid teachers. Teachers with Belt training have received an increase of 200yen per lesson: an increase of 10% for many. Depending on the number of lessons taught, that is a monthly pay increase of 15,000 - 40,000yen per month.


AEON Teachers: Working Too Much?

Learn how to say no to unreasonable demands on YOUR time. Join us in our campaign to win unpaid overtime.



Compare conditions at ECC to teachers at AEON. This is why we want a decent pay increase and decent training pay rates.


ECC Yen 100 Campaign

ECC union membership has voted and are launching the ECC 100 campaign.


Repression and Revolt in Japan - The G8 Summit

Over the past week and a half, an unprecedented political crackdown has been enacted in advance of a series of economic summits around the country.


Our training is so good

"The quality of the training is high and many other institutes would charge you for a similar training or qualification."Quote from ECC's recruitment website.


ECC Branch Summer BBQ

It's on - the First Annual ECC Branch Summer BBQ Date - Sunday August 3rd 2008


Matsubara Returns to Direct Hire

ALTs at Matsubara-city are set to benefit from better working conditions after the city Board of Education (BoE) made a major decision to revert back to direct hire.


General Union signs mediated agreement with G.Education & G.Communication

Settlement Agreement


General Union wins working time for writing reports, postcards, and certificates!

In recent negotiations with ECC the General Union won assurances that instructors will be given sufficient time during working hours to write KEW Assessment Reports, seasonal greeting cards, and completion certificates.


Berlitz Teachers on Strike

Begunto (The Berlitz General Union Tokyo, a local of Nambu) maintained and expanded its 2007 shunto strike during this year’s shunto, focusing on two demands: a 4.6% across-the-boards base pay hike and a one month bonus.

Nearly half of all 46 Berlitz schools in the Kanto plain have been hit by walkouts since the dispute began last December. Over 55 teachers have joined in the time-fixed, volunteer strikes, making it by many accounts the largest enduring work stoppage in the history of Japan’s language industry.


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Not a member of the union yet? Want to receive regular updates of what is happening?


2008 ECC Best School Survey

It’s that time again, time for the annual ECC Best School Survey. Can Nishinomiya (Kinki District) and Kanayama Honko (Chubu District) do it again and win for the second survey running?


Nichibei English Service Branch Makes Shunto Demands

he Nichibei Eigo Gakuin (Nichibei English Service) branch of the General Union sent demands to Nichibei president Mr Tamotsu Kanehisa on 19th March for:


Prior consultation agreement with Ryukoku University 龍谷大学との事前協議制

On 6 March 2007, along with a grievance system, we negotiated a Jizen Kyogi (prior consultation) agreement with Ryukoku University


ECC members demand pay increase and permanent contracts

The ECC Branch has submitted new demands for collective bargaining. Sick and tired of the stress of having to renew contracts every March we are asking ECC to abolish annual contracts.


English Payslips Still Coming?

In March 2007, the General Union ECC Branch reported that ECC answered union demands for English payslips saying that they would proactively look into the matter. Nine months have passed and still no English payslips.


Advice concerning Unemployment Insurance ('Rishokuhyo' and procedures for payments) for those who ha

All NOVA teaching staff were dismissed as of the last day of November, and were sent a ‘Rishokuhyo’ by the court-appointed receiver. Already, there should be those who are receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits.


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