Why join? – GU Nichibei Branch 日米英語学院支部

Jan 1, 2008

Improving conditions

Our union has been protecting and improving your working conditions for 14 years inside the company. * We have won overtime pay, a pay rise, and paid holidays. Joining the union will guarantee you 10 paid holidays after 6 month’s work, 11 more after 1 year. 12 more after 2 years, and so on up to 20 days a year. * From around 1993, conditions in the company started deteriorating rapidly, but the union held the line, winning an agreement from the company not to change union members’ working conditions without the union’s permission. * We are now fighting against Nichibei’s abolition of ‘Special Holidays’. Under the old working rules, which the union demanded in 1997, you were entitled to: 1. 7 days for employee’s marriage 2. 3 days when employee’s wife gives birth 3. 3 days in case of death of grandparent, spouse’s parent or brother/sister 4. 7 days in case of death of parent, spouse, or child 5. 8 weeks before and after birthwhen female employee gives birth 6. When the company judges necessary in other cases. President Kanehisa’s reason for getting rid of them? ‘There was almost no one using the special holiday system, so we judged there was no need for their existence’ (letter of 1 December 2005). Also, how on earth can people use special holidays when you don’t tell them anything about them and hide them away in Japanese in your working regulations? We hope that now you can understand what kind of management we have been dealing with all these years – a management that cares nothing about its employees.


We’re not just about improving our own conditions. We also feel strongly that students who pay such high lesson fees deserve better service. * In 1994 we won an agreement that the company would provide material for group lessons. * In the same agreement, Nichibei promised to hold regular teachers’ meetings. * We are now asking for fair break times and lesson preparation time so that we can teach better lessons.

Legal Victories

We have won a major legal battle in Osaka District and High Courts. *The union branch chairman was fired in January 1999, and we won an injunction in the District Court in June 1999. * We won the full court trial in March 2000. The firing was ruled ‘invalid’, and an ‘unfair labour practice’ against a union member. Nichibei was ordered to pay his full salary, along with full back pay. * Nichibei appealed to the High Court. In November 2000, we won the appeal, and the company gave up. The teachers is now back at work, after 2 years away with full pay. * The Constitution and the Trade Union Law of Japan protect union members and their rights. On top of this, the court judgements of 1999 ~ 2000 have immeasurably strengthened our members’ security and the union’s bargaining power in the company. If you’d like to know more, call and we’ll set up a meeting with you, in the strictest confidence, where you can ask as many questions as you like, and make your decision. But whatever you do, Don’t wait until you have a problem! e-mail: nichibei@generalunion.org