ECC teachers demand permanent contracts

Jul 20, 2012

The importance of the teacher is often overlooked by language school operators. Teachers are viewed as short-term employees, with an unlimited supply. Companies forget that teachers are their main resource. Whether working as independent contractors at Gaba, or on yearly employment contracts at ECC, or part-time lecturing at universities, teachers industry-wide share similar concerns — the lack of job security. The General Union ECC branch has been negotiating for the introduction of permanent positions, but after a prolonged period of collective bargaining nothing has changed. The branch has proposed several options; unlimited term contracts, 3-year contracts, and the creation of non-contract teaching positions. In the end, however, management rejected all of our proposals. Our members are left questioning ECC’s commitment to quality education and the professional development of teachers. Teacher morale is also diminished by the lack of career advancement, and the uncertainty over contract renewal. This is not the 1990’s when there was a revolving door of fresh faces, floating in and out quickly. A growing number of people are staying in Japan, forming families, putting down roots. They have the right to job security and career development. It also makes sense for the company. They need to encourage company loyalty, encourage teachers to develop and improve their teaching skills. This will not happen when people are kept on one-year contracts. ECC argues that all teachers are renewed unless there is an exceptional reason. However, this is little comfort to the teachers concerned. If ECC views each non-renewal as a dismissal anyway, then what is their aversion to providing teachers with job security? The union is now entering procedures to file a complaint at the Osaka Labour Bureau over what we believe is a violation of the Part-time Worker’s Law. The law states that companies have an obligation to take measures to promote non-regular workers to regular worker status. ECC, your teachers deserve better!