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.
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.
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.
Nova charges ID Contract teachers 100 yen per lesson to use the same lesson booth a regular teacher uses for free. Why?
When you're offered both an independent contract and an employment contract, you might think that the independent one offers you more freedom. After all, doesn't the word "independent" imply that you're a freelance tradesman, free to practice your skills for anyone you like?
The union executive recently voted to fund a group action suit against Nova to end “Independent Contracts” and to seek compensation for lost benefits for those teachers either tricked or forced onto one of these contracts.
Since their inception over a year ago, the General Union has believed Nova’s “Independent Contracts” to be illegal. Consultations with lawyers have confirmed our beliefs. Initially we had hoped that we would be able to negotiate with Nova to phase out the system but they are hell bent on sticking with it, denying teachers paid annual leave, workers accident insurance, unemployment insurance, health & pension benefits, and paid maternity and childcare leave.
According to the law, all residents of Japan must be enrolled in two things: public health insurance and national pension.
Public health insurance for people who aren't enrolled in the employee system (more on that later) is provided through Kokumin Kenko Hoken (National Health Insurance), which is funded nationally but administered by local governments. Application is done at the local city hall, or ward office in the case of large cities. Premiums are paid monthly, and are around ￥2,000 for the first year, after which they are adjusted according to reported income. For people on an average teacher salary, they rise to around ￥20,000 per month.
The General Union is preparing for significant industrial action at Nova. In order to build up our strength, we’re making a special, limited-time offer to new members currently working at Nova: dues of only ￥1000 inclusive for the first three months of membership.
If interested, please fill out our online application form and be sure to indicate Nova as your workplace, and a representative will contact you shortly. Once your ￥1000 payment is received, you won’t have to make another payment until three months later.
Let’s band together to start winning improvements at Nova!
After repeated delays, Nova finally gave a solid reply to our request for a clear, written sexual harassment policy, which we had asked for in August. According to Nova, instructor complaints will be handled immediately by the Head Office, Customer Consulting section in the General Affairs Department. Students deemed in violation will have their contracts terminated, and employees in violation will be dealt with according to internal company guidelines. Said guidelines had only existed in Japanese until recently, but Nova made an English translation which they sent to us and promised to make available to all instructors. We intend to hold Nova to their promises.
Did you see today's memo? Buried at the bottom of the memo, you will notice the most important part – taking time off is NOT compulsory.
If you do not want to, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE leave - paid or unpaid - or organize a shift swap. You have the RIGHT TO WORK, and NOVA recognizes this (now).
In September, NOVA launched a system in which teachers are evaluated by instructor managers (IM) and instructor support managers (ISM) under supposedly objective criteria. The system seems like it was hurriedly put together, and appears to be a malicious attempt to institutionalize company bullying by punishing teachers that management doesn't like for personal reasons.
Andrew H. (Branch Chair)
I joined the union and declared my membership in the summer of 2014, out of a sense of malaise that the company neither had any sense of direction nor placed any value in the happiness of its employees. I look forward to meeting everyone of you, and showing you how we can achieve great things by working together.
Recently, drama erupted at NOVA after a student accused a teacher - a member of the General Union - of being involved in a torrid affair with another NOVA staff member. The accusation was baseless, as no relationship of a romantic nature existed between the teacher and the member of staff. However, the way that NOVA handled the situation left much to be desired.
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.
Are you truly independent? Are you financially better off on an ID contract? The union believes that you aren't. We also believe the contracts to be illegal. To this end we are shortly launching a group action lawsuit against the company. You can be a plaintiff if you are on an independent contract.
Truths About ID Contracts
Over the coming weeks we will be running a series of articles that highlight particular issues about the ID contracts. Feel free to contact us if you have particular questions about the contract.
We will be updating this page as new articles are added.
Stagnant working conditions at Nova have seen our branch become more active and we have recently submitted demands to the company for collective bargaining in early December. Pass on the news to your colleagues. And also ask them to take our survey at bit.ly/novasurvey
Four years on from the acquisition of GEOS and a long period of restructuring and branding changes, things at Nova have stabilized. Old branches have been renovated, several new branches have opened, and new educational material is being published.
Nova recently fired a long term employee, and union member, due to his disability. This was part of a series of actions harassing our member because he is disabled. Needing the job badly, our member had stood by as they cut his work hours 2 years running, along with cutting his shakai hoken (health insurance & pension).
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by the founder and former president of the language school chain Nova Corp. against his conviction for embezzling ¥320 million from employee benefit funds, effectively finalizing his two-year prison term.
Conditions at NOVA continue to spiral downwards. From November, NOVA has started cutting teachers’ base salaries and allowances.
NOVA has once again taken advantage of contract workers by unfairly targeting teachers whose contracts are up for renewal. Members have been contacting the union in dismay.
In 2008, The General Union officially sought indictment NOVA’s former president, Mr Sahashi over non-payment of wages (a violation of the Labor Standards Law). When prosecutors declined to indict, the General Union took the matter to the auditors of the Public Prosecutors Office. They have now ruled the original decision “unjust”.
A year has passed and G.education has over 400 NOVA schools up and running. How have things changed? For the better? For the worse?
The jury is still out. In some ways teachers say NOVA v.2 is better than before. In other ways teachers say it is worse. But there is a consensus on two issues troubling NOVA teachers; the regularity allowance and the overtime pay rate.
- October 26, 1863 Soccer rules standardized; rugby starts as a separate game
- October 26, 1881 Gunfight at OK Corral, in Tombstone, Arizona
- October 26, 1945 Hilary Clinton born
- October 26, 1972 Henry Kissinger declares "Peace is at hand" in Vietnam
- October 26, 2007 Nova declares bankruptcy
Advice concerning Unemployment Insurance ('Rishokuhyo' and procedures for payments) for those who ha
All NOVA teaching staff were dismissed as of the last day of November, and were sent a ‘Rishokuhyo’ by the court-appointed receiver. Already, there should be those who are receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits.
NOVA OPEN MEETING 8 January 2007 at 10:00AM at L-Osaka
No doubt you have already heard that G-Education has sprung a nasty Christmas present on those teachers (and staff?) who were waiting for formal re-hiring.
NOVA applies for Corporate Rehabilitation
From the October 2007 edition of the National Union Voice
On 30 September over 100 NOVA teachers and staff packed themselves into the small General Union offices in Temmabashi with similar numbers attending meetings over two days in Tokyo. The big question that everyone asked was whether NOVA was going to go under.
Our claim at the Labour Standards Office over unpaid wages was very effective, and NOVA actually paid the wages. Yesterday, we were contacted by the Labour Standards Offices inspectors and were told that NOVA would pay all outstanding wages owed to teachers.
This is a letter which was posted to the Japan Times in regards to an article about NOVA printed on 25 September.
KYOTO -- English language conversation school operator Nova Co. illegally billed a student when it refused to refund her the full price she had paid for classes she didn't take, the Kyoto District Court ruled.
While Nova will never admit it, the "non-socialization policy" is dead.