On Friday, August 25th, General Union met with GABA to discuss wage increases and ensuring continued employment.
1. The effects of inflation are felt everywhere, and GABA’s instructors are no exception. To try and provide some relief for the increased cost of living, we are demanding a 200 yen raise for every instructor’s lesson. GABA’s response is that they will only increase wages by 20 yen for instructors who apply for or are registered in the Qualified Invoice Issuer (QII) system. The 20 yen alone is laughable, but worse, GABA is using wage increases to promote QII enrolment.
We challenged that the raise should be applied to all instructors, even if it’s just 20 yen. However, GABA remains firm in its claims that “We are facing tough financial conditions and cannot apply it to everyone” and “Instructors can increase their income by increasing the number of students through their efforts.” These responses put the onus on workers to increase their workload and allows the company to wash its hands of any responsibility.
Instructors at GABA have never stopped working to increase student numbers. Why won’t GABA acknowledge their efforts? General Union will continue to hold GABA accountable for its management responsibilities, and fight until wage increases are realized.
2. GABA has retained many quality instructors for years on contracts that they are now looking to eradicate for a less favorable option. The company has presented a choice for employment contracts after October: ① registering as QII, or ② signing a contract to cut 2% from the wage – equivalent to the consumption tax portion – which will only be extended until March 2024. Even if an instructor registers under QII, they would still need to pay 2% of the amount they receive as consumption tax. In short, workers are being forced to sign contracts for pay cuts.
GABA claims to be following government policies – but refuse to offer a fair alternative. GABA stands firm that those who do not register as QII will only be allowed to continue on non-QII contracts for a further six months and: “If you don’t choose one of the two options we’ve presented, there will be no contract after October.” Once again, the company shies away from any accountability.
All of GABA’s claims disregard the fact that their instructors are effectively employees who work under GABA’s direction and supervision, not merely “contractors.” Despite the company’s denial, it’s clear that they can’t change employment conditions without agreement, as stipulated in Article 8 of the Labor Contract Law. Naturally, they can’t dismiss employees either.
Neither can employment conditions be unilaterally changed, or employees dismissed without the agreement of the labor union. Forcing such actions would be an unjust labor practice that ignores negotiations unionized members.
We are merely requesting the continuation of employment under the same terms as before, beyond October. We will use every means recognized by the labor union to fight for this modest and reasonable demand. We seek your support!