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.
Berlitz Japan operates in three regions in Japan; Kanto, Tokai, and Kansai with a few Language Centers beyond Kansai. The union has traditionally been very active in Kanto (BEGUNTO) and Kansai (General Union Berlitz Branch) with periodic activity in Tokai also supported by the General Union Berlitz Branch. Since management submitted individual letters to instructors in October 2014, outlining contract changes, Union membership in Tokai has grown substantially and the time came to address outstanding issues that were simmering in the background. Here are two of those many issues.
Tokai region sets the CTL cut-off time for customers at 5:00pm. Instructors' work schedules are frequently sent out after 7:30pm and on occasion past 8:30pm. For one member, the CTL policy took on one of the meannest work practices we've ever seen Berlitz implement. Our member teaches German and on two occasions it very much appears that the request student cancelled after the CTL cut off point but before the schedules were sent out. The CTLs were moved from our members' schedule to the Manager of Instruction's schedule. The MI does not speak German and there is no clear policy to work during that period. This amounts to both the student and the instructor losing out unfairly to an incredibly mean work practice that demonstrates yet another cost cutting measure that is appearing
throughout Berlitz Japan.
'Official' Floating Contracts
Look for a 20/25 PTG or 40/50 Instructor Contract in the Policies and Procedures Manual. You will not find them because they do not officially exist. The GU Berlitz Branch raised a grievance for a member who had signed a regular Instructor Contract (40/40) but was being forced to float to a split shift 40/50 under the premise that this was official policy in Tokai Region. This grievance is still pending and our advice to Berlitz Japan is to follow your own set of Policies and Procedures and reconsider this brazen attempt to lower working conditions for the sole purpose of cost cutting. You can't have it all!