Improving workers lives at ECC:General Union’s long history shows why unions are important

Apr 4, 2010

ECC further recognizes the General Union by allowing union representatives to attend company orientations for new teachers. ECC has now be-come the first union branch at a major eikaiwa chain to win a union dues “check off” agreement with their employer. Union members now have the option of paying their union dues through a convenient deduction from their monthly salary. This promotes union membership as a fundamental right for all workers at ECC.

Chubu Region ALP Lottery Union members working in Chubu no longer need to use the ALP lottery system. After recent negotiations ECC responded by stating that members who do not want to participate in the lottery system simply need to submit a written request for ALPs. They also assured the union that instructors will not encounter any unfair treatment for opting out of the lottery system. If you are unsure about your ALP entitlements, please contact the union for a consultation.

New Collective Agreement ECC has agreed in principle to sign a collective agreement with the union over a toll-free number for sub-teachers in the Kinki district, and for meetings between the union and the company.

Workplace Health and Safety Health and Safety is something that is often overlooked in the eikaiwa industry. The union has recently been concerned about the limited information regarding emergency evacuation procedures at ECC, and as a result has continued to demand improvements in this matter. ECC management has taken the union’s demands very seriously. They continue to negotiate with the union over ways to improve workplace health and safety. In the coming months all Foreign Language Institute classrooms in the Chubu and Kinki districts will have emergency evacuation maps. The employer has again agreed in principal to a collective agreement to secure this measure.

Buffer Days and Meeting Notice Starting times, finishing times and working locations on buffer days and after the block meetings have attracted a lot of attention over the past year. The union’s stance is that ample notice is required. The Labour Standards Law (Article 15) is quite clear that an employer must specify in writing the starting times, finishing times and the work place. The union submitted demands asking for at least two weeks notice. ECC has agreed and from the 2010 academic year will endeavour to provide at least two weeks notice.

Special Leave- Under Negotiation Leave for personal reasons is standard practice in most Japanese companies. Special leave is typically offered to employees for auspicious occasions and in times of condolence. ECC offers special leave to school management and head office staff, with provisions for such leave clearly outlined in their working regulations. Instructors are not offered this, and are often left with no option but to use ALPs. In the worst-case scenario, it is necessary to take unpaid leave and be penalized for having “missing days” at evaluation time. ECC recognizes that this is an issue and wishes to continue to discuss the introduction of some kind of unpaid special leave system.