We held a press conference attended by 4 TV companies and over a dozen print journalists at the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education (BoE) Press Club. Reports were aired several times that day and most national newspapers, including the English language Daily Yomiuri carried reports. The following day saw over 120 members of the Osaka Union Network descend on the BoE offices to protest the dispatching and to demand direct hire of ALTs in public schools as part of the annual Spring Labour Offensive Day of Action. Go to the GU website www.generalunion.org to see some of the articles. You can also see 2 short news reports at: http://www.generalunion.org/news/?id=66 History of GU dispatching campaign In January 2007, the General Union conducted a survey among the Boards of Education of all cities, towns and villages in Osaka Prefecture to assess the employment conditions of ALTs. Over the past 5 years the boards have moved away from direct hiring or using the JET programme, and outsourced ALT positions to private companies, such as W5, Nova, Zenken, Maxceed, etc. The GU survey confirmed that direct employment ・usually via the JET program ・is now only to be found in the smaller towns and cities of Osaka. More alarming however, is that 23 cities and towns replied that they were using Ukeoi (subcontracting) contracts. If this is indeed the case, it is a violation of the Law for Securing the Proper Operation of Worker Dispatch Undertakings and Improved Working Conditions for Dispatched Workers (hereinafter “Worker Dispatch Law”, while only 3 cities answered that they were using Haken (Worker Dispatch) contracts (see attached chart). Cities and towns using improper contracts is not a new issue in Osaka Prefecture. In September 2004 the Osaka Labour Bureau provided guidance to all BoE that using Ukeoi for ALT positions was inappropriate. On February 17, 2005, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Technology (MEXT) also instructed boards nationwide to ensure that contracts and actual conditions for outsourced ALT positions met the requirements of the Worker Dispatch Law. An ALT position is one that fundamentally involves team teaching, with the ALT working in an assistant role. MEXT also strongly believes that for proper classroom control and management it is necessary for ALTs and main teachers to work together. The Ministry even clearly advised school boards that the kind of contract entered into is irrelevant; when the school or board gives work directives, as in the case of an ALT, this falls under the Worker Dispatch Law.