The sticking points continue to be job security for teachers and sick days. Pay Increases ECC has countered the union’s demand of an hourly base increase of between 30 and 90 yen (average 60 yen) with performance based increases. The range is 0-100 yen per hour, the highest in 8 years, with the average increase being 30 yen per hour. Special Leave ECC management has approved special leave (unpaid) for full-time union members. A collective agreement will be signed in the coming weeks. More information to follow. Halloween Costumes Basic costumes will be provided at schools. Teachers wishing to wear their own costumes can do so. Summer Intensive Courses ECC has recognized that the situation that occurred last year was far from ideal. They have given the union a commitment that the same thing will not happen this year and they have already started discussion internally. Model, event and special lessons ECC acknowledged that advance notice and proper preparation improve lesson quality and new student sign up rates. The union will continue talks at the next labour-management meeting. Sick days Taking unpaid sick days (and not using ALPs) can adversely affect school director evaluations, ultimately leading to a lower salary increase for simply being ill. ECC has responded negatively to the union’s demand that absences not be used in the evaluations. Permanent employment Internal discussion on promoting native instructors to seishain “permanent status” is continuing. ECC has clearly stated that they have no intention of introducing another category of workers because they have 5 already. Seishain positions will be managerial. The union has strongly urged ECC to further look into job security for teaching staff. Lengthening employment contracts for teachers to 3 years, as permitted by the Labour Standards Law, is one union proposal. Negotiations will continue.