Language teachers’ union protests Nichibei dismissals

May 12, 1998

According to the allegations documented by the Osaka-based General Union, the company, Nichibei English Service, fired two foreign teachers without proper reasons this month, verbally harassed employees to try to make them quit the union, and cut the teaching hours of some union members. The union asked the commission to nullify the two teachers’ dismissals and modify the firm’s treatment of union members. The company operates seven schools in Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto and Tokyo. In August 1997, 28 foreign and Japanese employees at the school formed a branch of the General Union; the number has since dropped to 15. ‘A’, one of the two teachers fired by the company said he believes one of the main reasons for his dismissal was his union membership. The school reduced his work hours as his union activities — which included demands for paid holidays and other rights — increased, he said. In a notice faxed to ‘A’, the company’s administrative office cited student complaints and an uncooperative attitude for his dismissal. ‘A’ rebuffed the claims, saying: “If my coworkers believed that I was a bad teacher, they wouldn’t be fighting for me.” A spokesman for the school said the company will consider how to deal with the case after reading the complaint.