Osaka Gaigo branch holds half-day strike

On May 25th 2006 some of the members of the Osaka Gaigo branch held a half-day strike. We were joined by supporters from other branches and other unions, and had a very good turnout. Spirits were high. We appreciate the support of everyone who turned out. It seems that Gaigo was quite taken by surprise by the strike, despite being warned in advance. They have said "no" to us many times with few consequences, but this time our people are really upset and the result was our first ever strike.

We want Osaka Gaigo to rehire the two union members and long-time teachers who were unfairly fired, while other teachers were being hired. We also want them to reduce the number of 90-minute classes the 9 to 5 teachers have to teach to 12 or less, from 14. The new, unprecedented workload is too high for us to do our jobs well, which is harming our health and the quality of our students' education. In addition, we want Osaka Gaigo to cease it's unfair labour practices and start negotiating in good faith. Ideally, we would like to see better communication and to be included in the improvement of the school.

During the strike, we got a lot of verbal support from the students, although some couldn't quite understand the situation. Students were told to stay in the classrooms, some apparently without teachers, but they yelled their support down to us and even sent their love down by paper airplane! We got a lot of different reactions from the other teachers and staff, but mostly smiles. It's about time Osaka Gaigo came to the negotiating table and made the small compromises necessary to get things back to normal. We want to teach!

Although we regret that other teachers had to teach extra classes to students who may not have been happy, we can only hope that the result will be good for everyone. We feel that if no one resists the new management team now, things will get worse and worse for all the workers.


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