March 11 - Shuntō (春闘) is a Japanese term, translated as "spring labor offensive". Negotiations and industrial action are held during this period seeking salary increases along with other improvements in working conditions. It's history dates back to the 1940's
In Kansai, our federation and other associated unions will be demonstrating at various companies across Osaka. Targets for the General Union include Osaka City where we are negotiating to break 3 year term limits for city hired Native English Teachers, amongst fighting for other improvements. We will also be demonstrating in Takatsuki City against the Board of Education’s arbitrary decision to cancel the AET program after teachers dared to move out of sub-standard housing and joined a union.
The General Union ECC Branch played a major part in the revisions to the School Director Evaluation Form for the current school year. Our Evaluation Committee had several rounds of negotiations and ECC management agreed to many of our proposals.
Please take a moment to complete our survey so we can take into consideration suggestions from all teachers working at ECC.
Gaba negotiations, 2pm at our Osaka office tomorrow. If talks fail we will be taking a vote to launch an unfair labor practice case against the company. Preliminary permission has already been given but we want to make sure all members are on board.
We believe that under both the Constitution and the Trade Union Law, workers have the right to organise a union and that means distributing union materials - even on company premises.
Members at ECC, after having ran a successful strike last year over pay cuts and doubling their membership over the past year have submitted new pay demands to the company. Last year's strike of about 50 teachers was in order to fight a company proposal to replace yearly performance based pay increments with lump sum payments and hence freezing their wages, but this year members aren't going to be satisfied just stopping clawbacks - they want more money in their pockets.
Background To Recent Events
On 28 October 2014 instructors received a personalized hand delivered letter outlining a set of changes to their contracts as well as notification of a new Full Time Instructor Contract. The Berlitz Branch union contested the arbitrary changes in collective bargaining on a number of points:
The announcement of arbitrary changes was made public without any preconsultation which we feel violates one of our union and company collective agreements.
During the first week of January union members at Berlitz took an almost unanimous strike ballot in order to back our demands.
1. Full pay for all work before, between, and after lessons.
2. Withdrawal of the unilateral company proposal for clawbacks (while trying to pay for time between lessons)
Check-off (Industrial Relations & HR Terms) - a procedure whereby an employer deducts union contributions directly from an employee's pay and pays the money to the union.
Check off is common practice in many of our home countries, it is also quite common in company controlled unions in Japan. For smaller unions, such as the General Union, it is very rare.
The General Union branch at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies (NUFS) has made steady progress over the last year, in particular by improving working conditions for PUT tutors. These are part-time teachers, working on language programs, who are paid on a per-lesson basis. This means that if teachers are unable to teach classes for any reason, for example sickness or classes cancelled because of typhoons, they have not been paid. Unlike most part-time university teachers, including those at NUFS the nature of the program makes it difficult for them to teach make-up classes and they are not paid for the summer, winter and spring breaks.