We have discussed issues of dispatch with Kansai Gaidai and recently asked for negotiations with SEICO.
We believe that those involved in this campaign have been misled by management, who have provided them with a one-sided and dishonest account of the activities of the General Union at Kansai Gaidai and SEICO.
This is why we are inviting SEICO teachers to contact us directly to set up a time to meet.
You can set up an appointment either in person or by Skype by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 06-63529619.
If you are a SEICO teacher, we ask you to honestly consider the facts about our activity and compare them with some of the misinformation that you have been given.
What are the union’s demands?
Simply put, our demands are as follows:
1. Equal pay with those doing the same job at Kansai Gaidai.
2. The right to become a regular employee of Kansai Gaidai with an unlimited term contract.
Please see the end of the article for the exact wording.
Is the General Union trying to represent teachers who are not members at SEICO?
The General Union can represent its own members and nobody else.
This is why we want SEICO employees to join the union.
If you are in the union, we can represent you and fight for your rights.
If you are not in the union, whatever the union negotiates will not apply to you unless SEICO unilaterally changes your working conditions.
Do non-union members have a say in whether or not a union has representation in a workplace?
It is an individual’s right to join a union or not.
Non-union members, or even members of a different union, cannot legally deprive individuals of their rights to join and be represented by a union of their choosing.
Does the General Union want to take over SEICO as employees have been told?
That’s not what unions do. We negotiate on behalf of union members to improve their pay and working conditions.
Has the union been able to win anything yet?
SEICO has already agreed to give two of our members, who requested it, indefinite contracts in line with their legal rights.
SEICO had plenty of time to tell employees about this (since 2013) but never did so until the union demanded that SEICO accept the unlimited term contract applications as per the law.
Is the General Union against dispatch?
We are certainly not against dispatch teachers as many union members are dispatched.
In most circumstances though we prefer direct employment as it usually means better pay and conditions.
Our union members at Kindai who would have otherwise been dispatched by Berlitz on lesser conditions now enjoy equal pay with other teachers doing the same job.
What has the General Union demanded at Kansai Gaidai in regard to dispatch?
In May we demanded that Kansai Gaidai ensure that all dispatching at the University comply with the Dispatch Law and the Education Law. SEICO teachers are presently classed as subcontractors (itaku), rather than dispatch (haken).
This means that they shouldn’t be in charge of their own classes or doing any grading, but we all know that this occurs.
Even more importantly, this means subcontractors aren’t covered by the dispatch law which stipulates equal pay for equal work.
They also have the right to ask for direct employment after three years.
Also, if they are union members, they have stronger rights to negotiate with the receiving company (in this case Kansai Gaidai) over issues of concern to the dispatch workers.
In other words, the receiving organisation has stronger obligations.
Are teachers limited to employment of only three years under the dispatch law?
No. While this used to be the case, it is no longer true. There are various means by which employers can extend the dispatch for as long as they want.
Are SEICO and Kansai Gaidai opposed to classifying SEICO teachers as dispatch workers?
While that may be the case, neither have stated that in a formal response to union demands.
That is probably because in legal terms SEICO employees clearly are dispatch workers. Kansai Gaidai have raised a number of concerns about our demands.
First was that SEICO did not have the necessary license for dispatch. However, they have since accepted that it would be very easy to get.
Their main objection to giving SEICO members the right to request direct employment after 3 years is that this might damage the company if it kept losing teachers to Kansai Gaidai.
We do not accept this, but one reason why we requested negotiations with SEICO was to see if the company really did have an objection to this.
It is clear that management either misunderstood or deliberately misinterpreted our demand.
What demands did the General Union raise with SEICO?
This is an English translation of the demand letter we sent to the company for the negotiations scheduled for the 21st of January.
Please remember that collective bargaining is protected by Trade Union Law and is only open to union members and representatives of the employer.
Some people are under the mistaken belief that anyone can attend negotiations as an observer.
This is simply not true and an employer who allowed this would clearly be in violation of the Trade Union Law.
It is our view that most of the problems with such a move could be easily solved without major inconvenience to either the company, the university, and the teachers concerned.
For example, while originally dispatch was limited to 3 years, it can now be indefinite with the agreement of the workers’ representative in the receiving company.
We would like to make it clear that we will co-operate with your company and if you wish us to do so provide you with any advice you may need to make such a transition as problem free as possible.
We would like to submit the following demands concerning a possible transition from itaku to dispatch:
1. Carry the transition through with no cut in pay worsening of conditions for teachers working at Seico.
2. Make it clear to Kansai Gaidai that the company has no objection to the direct employment by Kansai Gaidai of teachers presently working at Seico.
Watch this page for more information about our activity at SEICO and Kansai Gaidai.