As you probably know, General Union members are suing Nova over the issue of Independent Contracts. These contracts rob instructors of paid leave, unemployment insurance, health & pension, and even workers accident compensation, amongst other things.
Previously, we had submitted evidence of how Nova controls Independent Contractors despite the company claiming that they do not have any control.
Included in a long list of evidence was the case of Nova transferring one teacher to another school without his consent. In another situation, one teacher had finished his shift and was leaving the school when a staff member came running and grabbing him, insisting that he teach another video lesson.
In many companies and industries across Japan, contracts with wording such as "expires with fiscal year 2017” are quickly being penned with the aim of denying limited-term workers the chance to switch to unlimited-term employment in the spring of 2018.
What our long experience with these matters has taught is that more than a few employers will happily ignore even the law - let alone ethics or common sense - in order to secure and expand their own profits.
This is why, by depending simply on the "good faith" of management, it is extremely difficult for workers to get even what is guaranteed by law.
As you might have heard, there has recently been a reduction in eligibility requirements for shakai hoken (Employee Health and Pension Insurance; EHPI) and shigaku kyosai (private school health and pension insurance). Now, in workplaces with over 500 enrollees, you can be enrolled with just twenty hours of work per week with one employer.
While many part-timers are pleased with this change, some part-timers who, for many years, had to make alternate arrangements are wondering whether this change really benefits them.
Unexpectedly, this has gotten to the point where we are now getting questions about ways to reduce working hours in order to avoid being enrolled...
This bulletin contains information on law changes that have either passed, or are being discussed, in parliament, court decisions, and other labor issues in Japan.
We hope that some of this information will also be of interest to activists, supporters of the General Union, and those who want to know more about labor issues in Japan.
It's fair to say that acceptance of LGBTQ rights in Japan have greatly progressed over the years, with even the Ministry of Education raising the issue with both the rights and equal treatment of LGBTQ students with schools.
However, while it can be said that Japan has never experienced the kind of homophobic attitudes that other cultures have, progress in the workplace remains slow.
Gay couples do not usually receive the same rights as their heterosexual peers, in part due to a lack of same-sex marriage equality.
"In twenty years of negotiating with employers all around Japan, I have never seen a company that holds their own employees - the economic engine of their own company - in such contempt. Most employers at least have the decency to pay lip service and offer hollow respect."
Dennis Tesolat (General Union Chair)
In January of this year, union members from the General Union and Tokyo Roso working at ECC all across Japan submitted demands to their employer to improve pay and other working conditions.
No company ever starts off with giving in to all union demands - but what we are currently witnessing at ECC is a full assault on the union and its members.
The first hearing in our member's case against Osaka Gaigo is set for March 13. Members and non-members alike are invited to attend. Our lawyers will also explain, in English and Japanese, the merits of the case, legal precedents, and how Osaka Gaigo broke the law.
Some people may still be unaware, but in April of 2013 the Labor Contract Law changed so that “when, under repeated limited-term contracts, the total period of employment exceeds five years, the limited-term contract can be converted to an unlimited one upon the worker’s request”. In other words, workers who have been employed under multiple limited-term contracts for a total period of over five years as of April 1, 2018, will become unlimited-term employees if they make a request to their company. (Please note this increases to ten years for some university positions that involve research.)
Companies require you show up to work on time and - during the time you are being paid - give your attention to the job at hand. This is not only an expectation, however - they demand it of you, and will sanction you with pay cuts, fines, warnings, disciplinary actions, and dismissal, if you fail to live up to your end of the agreement.
Over the years, the General Union has played host to a handful of "OP-ED" articles written by members and non-members alike. For example, one of our most recent opinion articles - "The Myth of Low Cost Dispatching" - garnered quite a lot of attention on both Facebook and our website.