Note: General Union and ECC are currently collaborating on a draft collective agreement which will officially conclude negotiations. Since it is an ongoing process, the situation is subject to change.
The General Union’s ECC Branch ended its months-long fight this July after members across Japan voted to accept ECC’s offer for improved pay and working conditions.
Earlier this year in March, negotiations between General Union and ECC failed to reach a satisfactory conclusion. Then, nearly 100 teachers and office workers across Japan staged a limited strike four times from April to June, stopping business at several ECC locations. During two of the limited strikes, union members held pickets and participated in spirited chanting outside of ECC’s regional headquarters in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya.
After these four strike actions, ECC returned to the bargaining table with an offer which steadily improved as negotiations stabilized. In early July, the union branch held a long meeting where members discussed whether to continue the strike and demand a better offer from the company or consolidate their victory now.
After a day-long online voting period, a strong majority of the branch voted to accept ECC’s offer. The final result is that a large portion of the membership will receive an across-the-board pay rise and a guarantee of a pay rise for the 2023-2024 year, and workers under ECC’s “Native Teaching Staff” contract will receive a significant improvement to their number of rest days.
In addition to this, ECC will continue its annual contract completion bonus for unionized Teaching Staff in their 4th, 5th, and 6th years of employment (ECC’s work code stipulates that this completion bonus ends after the 3rd year of employment).
This victory comes on the heels of the big win unionized ECC workers achieved in 2021 that saw an improvement to ECC’s leave policy for union members as well as the repeal of both limits ECC imposed on contract renewals and an (outrageous) pay rise freeze for unlimited-term contract workers.
Overall, the success of negotiations with ECC is thanks to the determination and willpower of its unionized workers who have continually improved the company from the inside for over two decades now
The GU ECC Branch is large enough that it has the power to demand concessions that, unfortunately, many workers could not hope to win. This highlights the importance of organizing your fellow workers. Get the word out to your coworkers and start the hard work of building real, lasting worker power at your company now!