A lot of time was spent discussing sexual harassment in the eikaiwa industry, talking about things that have happened and how better systems and procedures are required to deal with these. The issue of sexual harassment is a very difficult one, but we conveyed a lot of information to the company that they were not aware of, and we are optimistic that the discussion will lead to positive changes in the future. You can take the sexual harassment survey here.
We also discussed the Mindflash Starter Training. While the company insisted the training was optional it is obvious to the union that many, or even most, instructors felt the training was compulsory. This impression was given by many ISLs who continually asked instructors to do it, and posted notices saying that it was “strongly recommended” that they do it. Many instructors received multiple emails about the training, even while on vacation, and some have also received telephone calls. Some ISLs have gone as far as posting lists of names or instructor numbers of those who have not done the training. These are all acts of intimidation and clearly point to the fact that the training is compulsory.
Considering the evidence the union collected, we have asked that Gaba seriously consider paying for the training. We should know more by the end of the month. In the meantime, we are considering what action to take if the answer is negative. On a positive note, the union and Gaba are very close to signing a new collective agreement over a grievance procedure. Part of the negotiations were spent fine tuning the language of the agreement. We expect it to be signed within the month. This will be a positive step for members as it will allow them another process to use to help solve problems such as unfair negatives.
September 1, 2013