Simply put, ALL PL Instructors in Berlitz Japan (that we are aware of – and that is a lot!) have seen vast drops in lesson unit counts ranging from 30% – 70% of what they have normally received.
The union has now made a proposal to Berlitz to implement some kind of income and employment security for these instructors.
We hope that we can settle things before they blow.
Lesson counts for PL instructors have dropped dramatically due to such issues as:
‣ Recent over-hiring of new instructors on inferior contracts.
‣ Berlitz instructors (who are normally dispatched to universities and high schools) being brought into the “Language Centres” during their normal school break time.
‣ The introduction of a new, more automated, scheduling system.
While we are concerned about the impact that this has on students (we’ve been informed that customers are noticing that they’re being taught by instructors who are not yet experienced in the “Berlitz Method” and materials) our main concern are the members.
Berlitz has called these recent changes a “cost management” action – but the reality of it is that highly-experienced, long-tenured, PL Instructors are having difficulty making ends meet.
This is despite the fact that these instructors often provide eighty-plus hours per week of open availability to the company.
Furthermore, Berlitz requires PL instructors to guarantee a set open availability, which can usually not be changed in the first six months.
In return, the instructors are guaranteed absolutely nothing – which is why the union has been campaigning for income and employment security for members.
In the past, Berlitz scheduled lessons based on (as Berlitz told us) “Ability, Attitude, and Availability”.
This mantra has now been replaced by “cost management”, where everything is about how much can be squeezed from a lesson and fed back up to the parent companies Benesse and Berlitz International.
PL instructors have what are often called “zero-hour contracts” and are particularly vulnerable to problems caused by any changes.
We know a lot of “Berlitz Pay Per Lesson” Instructors are in serious financial trouble and currently looking for work elsewhere.
Members will soon be called to a special branch meeting and asked to take a strike vote which will go into effect if Berlitz cannot meet the union’s proposals for income and employment security.