If you have been following our news you know that the union has dealt with sexual harassment of instructors by Gaba students. Some cases have been quite extreme. Things improved to some degree when, frustrated by the lack of action by Gaba management, members went to The Japan Times.
The paper ran with the issue, publishing two articles on sexual harassment in eikaiwa in June and September last year. This forced Gaba to allow instructors to block inappropriate students from their schedules much more easily. At negotiations, a number of problematic students were discussed. One particular student was discussed in detail.
Fearful of being sued, the company said that they were unable to terminate the contract with the student. They stated that they were monitoring him but the details cannot be discussed here.
Today is the day when the union takes it's annual strike vote. So if you are a delegate, make sure you get to the meeting!!!
The vote gives authority to the executive committee (about 20 people who are being elected today) of the union to approve strikes in specific workplaces. Without that authority, every time there was a strike, we would need to call a meeting of the union's delegates, with some of them being as far away as Nagoya and Tokyo.
We’re still here
Maybe you haven’t heard from us for some time, but remember, we’re still here. Union members are still negotiating with the company over how you will be reimbursed for the five minutes before, between, and after lessons.
We beat the company’s unilateral plan to give with one hand and take with the other.
It was union members and teachers who joined after the company’s October announcement who forced the company to withdraw its proposals and enter into negotiations. If it wasn’t for union members at Berlitz you would have “bought a pig in a poke”.
Now, teach that expression to your students.
Lawyers’ Group to Host May 21 Emergency Assembly--All Join Forces!
The Abe government seems to be trying at any cost to make Japan “the easiest country in the world to do business in”. LDP governments before now have consigned postwar worker-protection laws to oblivion one after another, pushing relentlessly on with the passing of the Dispatch Law and so on, but now they are trying to finish it all off.
One part of this is the nasty item nicknamed the “Zero Overtime Bill”, already decided on by the Cabinet. For now, this bill would revise some of the regulations on overtime work, but only for those (of the workers covered by overtime regulations under the current labor Standards Law) who are “white-collar workers earning 10.75 million yen or more per year”. In other words, the point is to change the law so that overtime rates need not be paid.
Barely a week ago, a head teacher of Interac wrote a newsletter telling teachers that the company would (illegally) withhold their salaries if reports of work were submitted late. It also encouraged teachers to harass each other, implying that one delayed report would affect everyone.
Well, today, someone has slipped up again but at a national level.
On April 9th, 2015, an employee of NOVA submitted a written request to use one of his paid holidays on May 30th, 2015.
In an attempt to circumvent the labor law, NOVA responded to this reasonable request by flatly ignoring it, and then by finally verbally informing the employee that not only would NOVA not approve the holiday, he should instead organize a "shift swap" with another person.
Work rules are specific rules for the workplace that outline conditions such as work hours, salary, and rules employees need to abide by. In Japan, companies with 10 or more regular employees must draw up work rules and submit them to the Labor Standards Inspection Office.
At Berlitz Japan we have work rules and also a Policies and Procedures Manual that is used in conjunction with the Berlitz Work Rules. The Policies and Procedures Manual considers how the Berlitz Work Rules apply on a day to day basis and where there is any conflict, the Berlitz Work Rules take precedence as long as they are in accordance
with Labor Laws.
On Tuesday afternoon, a "Head Teacher" of Interac (Sendai Branch) - in an attempt to intimidate old and new ALTs alike - sent out a newsletter to a number of ALTs in Miyagi that included the following egregious paragraph of illegal misinformation:
When planning for the future, finances are always high on the list. Planning a family is no different. Japan has some great government programs for parenting leave. These are paid by the government, not the employer, but the employer has a vital role to play, and the system can be a little tricky to navigate, so the union is here with some helpful pointers. As always, if you are experiencing any difficulties with your employer, feel free to contact the union for a consultation.
At an April 19 branch meeting, members of the ECC branch voted on the following proposal:
"If our demand for a 5% pay increase for all ECC General Union members is not met, we will go into dispute as of June 30, with a strike date to be determined if the company, with over two months' notice of a possible dispute, does not make a pay raise offer acceptable to members.”
The members who attended the meeting unanimously voted for the proposal, as did the overwhelming majority of the absentee members who voted online in the following week. A notice informing the company of the decision has been sent.
On 20 March at 1300, the Tokyo District Court ruled on the case of a General Union member who sued the Japanese government in an important test case regarding eligibility for enrollment in the Employees Health and Pension Insurance (shakai hoken).