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 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.
What do we have planned to keep improving Berlitz?
After our victory last year which saw a 90yen increase for per lesson instructors and a 10% lesson reduction for contract instructors, the union is plowing ahead with more demands for improvements. You can be part of this by joining the union. Our victories affect all employees and we hope that you join to make us even stronger.
Shane English School - formerly "part of the global Saxoncourt Group", though now owned by the juku operator Eikoh in Japan - describes itself as "a world leader in the provision of high quality English courses and related services". With businesses "in the UK and Europe, East Asia, South East Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa", it "prides itself on its commitment to educational excellence".
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.
Berlitz employees, dispatched to a junior and senior high school, joined the General Union last year after working for many years with no increase in their base salaries. They felt that, since regular Berlitz employees get pay increases, they should also be eligible for the same. They demanded that the company not only increase their salaries, but also address the fact that they had gone so long without a base pay increase.
We are happy to announce that we were able to secure a pay increase for all members based on seniority, stipends for extra duties, and a set yearly completion bonus for all.
In the past, we've spoken in detail about the numerous ways that some English Conversation schools exploit contracted teachers in order to "have their cake AND eat it".
As we've noted, they accomplish this by asserting that said contracted teachers are not REAL employees, but are ACTUALLY just freelance individuals who are "providing a service" to the company. Suffice to say, we are vehemently against this practice.
However, it's important to note that our stance against issue not just rhetoric. As a matter of fact, we're actually doing something about this situation:
We're taking NOVA to court over it.
It's not often that the General Union issues a "Caveat Subscriptor" warning, but given the recent number of enquiries and complaints that we have seen regarding Seiha English Academy, we decided that it would be in the public interest to advise people to perhaps think twice before deciding to work for this company.
We are inviting all current and NEW members to participate in our meeting on 2 October from 8pm and to vote on our next round of demands.
Members, new and current, can partiicpate in person at the union office or via skype. Even if you can't come out, you will be sent a link to vote on our new demands.
Here are the new demands that we are considering.
1. A pay rise for all contract instructors (amount to be discussed at the meeting).
2. Job and pay security for per lesson instructors (how will be discussed at the meeting).
In the midst of our dispute with ECC, upper management sent a letter to all teachers disparaging the union by spreading lies about our campaign to win pay increases. As well as spreading lies, the company has committed another Unfair Labor Practice by doing so. Right now, at the request of ECC, we are in non-binding arbitration over across the board pay increases. If talks fail we will be suing the company over the letter.
- Berlitz Japan: automatic dues checkoff starts
- No more duck and cover at Gaba
- General Union ECC Branch & Tokyo Roso ECC Foreign English Union: Together and fighting for a 100yen pay raise
- Illegal Contract Clauses Part V - James English School
- NOVA - "Let Them Eat Noodles!"
- Berlitz Teachers: More Money; Fewer Classes. Brought To You By: The General Union. (Starts September 18th)
- Strike Two At ECC
- Negotiations with ECC Collapse – Second Strike Looms
- Progress Made - ECC Strikes Postponed
- The View From Ecc Branch: "One Of The Most Inspiring Moments Of My Life"