Union Protests Mass Dimissals at G-EducationOPEN MEETING 8 January at 10:00AM at L-Osaka

Dec 28, 2007

Emergency Announcement from the General Union Protest against the mass dismissals of former NOVA teachers by G-Education. G-Education and its parent company G-Communication (hereafter both referred to as ‘G-Co.’, 1), the company that was chosen to take over parts of NOVA’s business, declared the dismissals of about 800 foreign teachers of former NOVA teachers suddenly on 21 December. The takeover of parts of NOVA’s business took place under a basic agreement with the consent of the Osaka District Court on condition of “reemploying all NOVA teachers and staff and accepting students”, and G- Co. presidents Inayoshi and Ono promised this to all employees at an explanation meeting, as well as announcing it several times at press conferences which were broadcast publicly. However, G-Co., without consulting the receivers or the union, have broken this promise. The receiver appointed by Osaka District Court dismissed all employees from NOVA and moved their employment to G-Co. at the end of November. At this point, G-Co. had already opened 100 schools, and had decided to reopen the MM Centre and have 150 schools open by 10 January. Workers who had not been assigned to a school and MM Centre teachers, after moving workers to G-Co., as treatment up to 10 January, were invited to choose between staying on standby or staying on standby but during the end-of-year period to go back on holiday. In whichever case, G-Co. paid 150,000 yen as compensation for absence from work. 1 week ago, Mr Inayoshi reconfirmed the union’s “Demand for reconfirmation of total employment”, in the presence of the receiver. On 14 December, Mr Yamahara and others of the GU met both presidents at Nagoya Head Office and asked them whether they were really employing everyone. Already by this time, the GU had had calls from people saying they hadn’t been called for interview, or that they were full up and applications were being turned away, that they had ‘failed’ the interview for unreasonable grounds such as that they had been absent during the period that NOVA’s was paying wages late, or that their behaviour had been bad during that time, or that they had agreed to be interviewed by the mass media. Assistance for teachers who were to be hired from 10 January for their trips home. At the meeting, President Inayoshi puffed out his chest and said to the union and the receiver, “If anything, we don’t have enough teachers, and are trying to dissuade teachers from leaving. Option B is popular, and we have written to people asking them to be sure to come back and work from 10 January. We are really rehiring everyone who wants”, yet 7 days later he did a complete about-face. Applications were made by 10 November, and hiring was reconfirmed at interviews and all that was left to do was wait to start work in line with reopening of schools. This is why G-Co. paid 150,000 yen as compensation for absence from work. This announcement now is not a “Cancellation of a Tentative Decision to Hire”, but a mass dismissal. What is unforgivable is that those who took Option B were cruelly targeted with dismissal notices during their Christmas holidays back home. Why did they have to fire those who went back home to see their families after hiring, and before the first working day, during the standby period? Whether G-Co.’s reasons are, “It’s better to tell them while they are at home to save them the trouble of coming back to Japan.”; or “It would be mean to make them work out just the rest of their old NOVA contract”, this can only be thought of as a black joke. MM Centre moving abroad? Sudden change of policy. Reason for mass dismissals? Furthermore, looking at the reasons for dismissal, we see, “To enable us to offer lessons even more quickly to students who still have unused lesson points, we will shift the focus of development from the branches to expanding Ochanoma Ryugaku lessons with a view to even opening new Multimedia Center facilities overseas”. They have also announced, “We can save on costs by hiring in the U.S., Australia and Ireland”. Up till now, the MM Centre was to be moved from Namba to Umeda and with 500 employees, was to be the largest single workplace. The suspicion remains that their purpose from the start was simply to raise their profile and intended to duck out later from their commitment to hiring all teachers in Japan. G-Co. made a public commitment to the court, the mass media and the unions to “employ all teaching staff who wished”, but now have made an about-face and torn it up overnight. This turn of events will mean major problems for signups of ex-NOVA students, too, and will add to the concerns of the “NOVA Student Group”. Withdraw the dismissals now and stick to the basic agreement! G-Co. has become famous as the company which took over NOVA on these conditions. However, not 3 weeks after the transfer of employment, these teachers are now thrown them out. They cannot pass this off with the excuse, “we made efforts, but it was impossible”. This kind of public violation of a contract, this dashing of the expectations of teachers and students, they will be condemned on all sides and G-Co. will suffer social sanctions for it. But, even now, they must withdraw this mass dismissal, honour their public commitment, and return to the starting point. So that people will not say, “Yes, the English conversation business really is dangerous; it wasn’t just NOVA”, the General Union is determined to monitor G-Co. along with the teachers and students to the end to ensure the execution of all its promises.