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.
As a union, we believe that certain employee behaviour can, at times, warrant justifiable discipline (and even dismissal) under a fair set of working rules. Even so, this case raises some moral questions.
Many of you will have heard of the Kwansaei Gakuin lecturer who made a comment about seeing if a student from Fukushima Prefecture would "glow in the dark" (allegedly after turning off the lights in the classroom, according to some media). Fukushima, as you probably well know, is still experiencing the effects of a nuclear meltdown and the negative stigma that media saturation / sensationalism has caused.
The so-called "joke" was certainly offensive and inconsiderate, especially considering the bullying that has occurred to students relocated from Fukushima to other areas of Japan - but was the punishment appropriate?
Note: The General Union takes no responsibility for any problems you may encounter by using this information in your own disputes with your employer.
We have seen non-union members fired after talking about the law with their boss. It is far safer to join the union and negotiate with your company as an equal, rather than simply as an employee.
With April quickly approaching, it will soon be "that time of year" again - a time in which many foreigners dance to the tune of impending transfers, turnovers, and replacements while Boards of Education across Japan throw money around in the hope that dispatch companies will be the solution to the very problems that dispatch companies create (and so the prophecy fulfils itself).
Those who are caught up in this annual waltz often find themselves with a number of decisions to make and, often, the idiom of "any port in a storm" seems an apt descriptor: when one is having serious trouble, one must accept any solution, whether one likes the solution or not; when one wants to live in Japan by any means necessary, one must accept any job, regardless of the reputation of the company that they want to work for.
In such a situation, the question of "at what cost?" might not be all that important - but do the ends always justify the means?
For more than 26 years, I have called Japan home in which most of that time I have worked as a part-time university English instructor at various institutions, settling at three Kansai area schools for the past ten years or so.
Even "back home" there are hordes of people who fail to plan properly and make wills, creating havoc for families in the event of death. And here in Japan, there is probably a much higher percentage of us who don't think about it, or put it in the "too difficult to deal with basket".
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.