August 1st, 2020: NOVA Members Strike 100 Classes! What's Next?

Asked how she felt about being part of the largest strike to hit NOVA, tone union member answered, "I'm not proud of having to do this to NOVA. We're desperate. But I am not ashamed of standing up for other teachers', staff's, and students' safety."

As COVID-19 restarts its surge across Japan, and July 31st brought another record-breaking day of infections, NOVA union members went on strike across Japan, registering 100 struck classes.

After five rounds of collective bargaining - with most emphasis being placed on safety during the pandemic - no substantial agreement could be reached.

A main union demand is to promote social distancing in schools; and while members would like to see lower class sizes, we raised many different suggestions to keep the most vulnerable safe.

Not one suggestion came from NOVA about dealing with crowded classes.

While discussing basic issues like partitions in kids classes (eight in a lesson), NOVA explained that with so many kids in a class, partitions cannot be placed on desks as there isn't enough room.

The company suggested face shields for the teachers, but how about the kids?

NOVA not only failed to accept basic demands for social distancing, but also would not cooperate with basic quick times lines (this is after five rounds of negotiations) to deal with a growing pandemic - even though the Tokyo governor is stating publicly that a special state of emergency may have to be called in Tokyo.

They offered a deadline of two weeks to check 12 schools for a lack of cleaning supplies with the statement that they "may be able to do it quicker", but they want to make sure they keep their promise.

The negotiations ended in exasperation when union negotiators asked how long would it take the company to get together basic written proposals.

Their answer? "3 weeks."

This was after three rounds of negotiations in just one week (the first two which Nova limited to one hour, and the third where, despite their one hour time limit, union negotiators refused to give up and kept them at the table much longer).

Well, now they've had a third strike by employees that has jumped from about 35 classes being struck during the week to 100 classes struck on their busiest day.

The union is of course always ready to enter into good faith negotiations with NOVA, and hope that the company president himself will reach out to the union to take personal control over his own company and ask the union for a sit down.

We're still waiting.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 isn't...


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