Osaka Gaigo: Strike 2 over wage increases
October the 10th eleven members of the General Union and Naniwa union
working at Osaka Gaigo Senmon Gakko staged a half day strike for a 5% pay
increase and a bonus payment of at least one months wages twice yearly. The
strike united Japanese and foreign workers, office workers and teachers and
workers on temporary and permanent contracts.
Employees were angry that despite the fact that the educational trust that
runs the school claims that it does not have the money to pay the increase,
it refuses to provide the two unions with the financial figures necessary to
see whether this is true. Keep reading..
Fear of criminal prosecution forces Tezukayama Uni to settle Labour
Standards Law violation
University to blame for class cancellations, NOT the teacher. Have a similar
problem? Make sure to contact us immediately.
Tezukayama University, under threat of criminal prosecution after a
complaint from a GU part-time teacher for breaking the Labour Standards Law,
settled a case of cancelled koma (classes) after the contract was signed.
According to the Labour Standards Law an employer must pay for the
cancellation of work which is attributable to the employer; in the case Koma
that is cancelled after the academic year begins due to low enrollment.
GABA Branch update - 2013
The Gaba branch is always busy working
on various issues to improve the working lives of instructors. Some issues
are large, such as overall pay rates and conditions. Others are smaller, and
may only deal with a situation being faced by only one instructor. But all
of them are important, and instructors who are experiencing any difficulties
in their work at Gaba are encouraged to contact the union. Some of the
things currently on the agenda are:
(1) Gaba replied to the union's grievance regarding instructors being told
to do unpaid Mindflash training for the "Starter" books. The union will be
making a demand for payment for this training. Keep reading..
A new wave of union activism in GU Berlitz Branch
the biggest union meeting of Berlitz union members at the end of August, the
union has submitted demands to raise wages, protect part time teachers from
arbitrary cuts in lessons taught, and to make sure that Berlitz teachers are
paid for all the work they do.
Did you know that all Berlitz teachers are paid only for the lessons they
teach? How is it possible to teach without doing ANY work outside of the 40
minute lesson time? I guess Berlitz believes that textbooks just fly into
the teachers' hands. How about when the staff ask teachers questions about
students and their progress? The staff aren't invited into the lesson to
discuss it within the lesson time, are they? It's done between the lessons.
2013 Things to remember when dealing with sexual
Trust your instincts:
When a situation feels incredibly uncomfortable, it is a sign that something
is wrong. Ignoring the situation is not going to change anything, but rather
make it possible for things to escalate.
2. You are not alone:
If it is happening to you, it probably has happened or is still happening to
someone else. Familiarize yourself with your school’s or company’s policies,
so that you can follow the chain of command, if necessary.
Kansai Gaidai: 15 out leafletting
past year has seen enormous growth in our branch at Kansai Gadai but members
are keen to see numbers increase even more - there is strength in unity.
This morning, fifteen people were out spreading news of the union to
non-members at the entrance to the university. Twelve Kansai Gaidai teachers
were supported by three members of the General Union Executive Committee.
Union wins job back for a fired disabled NOVA teacher
Nova recently fired a long term
employee, and union member, due to his disability. This was part of a series
of actions harassing our member because he is disabled. Needing the job
badly, our member had stood by as they cut his work hours 2 years running,
along with cutting his shakai hoken (health insurance & pension).
The union had raised the initial cuts with Nova but they would not budge.
The member’s health condition is worsened when placed under stress so
unfortunately, on the previous occasions he decided to not pursue the
issues. It was a different matter this time round though. Keep reading..
Peppy Kids Club Strikes
Some time back, iTTTi Japan effectively fired our
branch chair by non-renewing him after nine years at Peppy Kids Club. The
grounds were flimsy at best and we believe it was for union activity. He was
making progress in organizing Japanese teachers and the company was scared.
A settlement of sorts was brokered, Jason returned to work, and we dropped
our suits against the company. Part of the settlement fell through and they
tried to say Jason was out of the company. We managed to get another 6 week
renewal with him working in yet another division of the company.Keep reading..
2013 Gaba Negotiations - new issues covered
On Monday August 26th 2013 the Gaba Branch of the GU
held negotiations with Gaba Corporation. Topics discussed included three
main topics: paid training, a proper grievance procedure for dealing with
workplace problems, and also the problem of sexual harassment in the
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.
Collective agreement with ECC secures members' employment
On July 29, the General Union and
ECC finalized a collective labour agreement over contract renewals.
This new agreement gives union members extra protection from non-renewal and
the new contract renewal guidelines introduced by ECC in April.
Under this agreement ECC must renew General Union members' contracts unless
there are exceptional circumstances.
Unlike at other language schools, ECC union members will no longer have the
stress of worrying about contract renewals.
GABA incentive pay survey
lessons from May 2013 onwards Gaba changed the incentive system. Two changes
were made: the first was paying an additional 200 yen for morning weekday
peak lessons (the F-peak incentive), this was a good increase for morning
instructors, and Gaba and the General Union signed a collective agreement
Gaba also made an additional change to incentives. Unfortunately, they
changed from counting all lessons towards the TNT (Total Number Taught)
incentive to only counting peak lessons for a PNT (Peak Number Taught)
The union is in favour of all lessons receiving a fair incentive, and now
that instructors have started receiving their paychecks including the
revised PNT incentive, the union is interested in finding out how
instructors feel about it.
If you would like to have your say, please complete our anonymous survey:
Sexual harassment: What happened to me
taught at my company for two years now and while most students have been
perfectly fine, there have been two incidents that bothered me enough to
request to have the students blocked from my schedule.
At the time of the first incident, I was not a union member. It was
difficult enough just to discuss with my managers, but the process itself
was unnecessarily unpleasant and difficult. I was intimidated, made to feel
that it was my fault or untrue, and I was treated like a troublemaker.
Since becoming a declared union member, the company's attitude has changed.
At the time of the second incident, I notified my supervisor just as I did
the first time, but also made them aware that the union was monitoring the
situation. This time, I was taken seriously and the student was removed from
my schedule almost immediately. Keep reading..
Video on changes to the labour contract law
union in Tokyo, NUGW Tokyo Nambu, recently gave a talk on changes to the
employment law and how they affect you.
In October, we will be holding seminars on the law in both Osaka and Nagoya.
Dates and places will be advised soon. In the meantime, please check out the
11 July. Strike at Osaka Gaigo Senmon Gakko
While Japanese and foreign members at Osaka Gaigo extended last week's
strike deadline in hopes of a better offer from their employer by 9 July,
management's weak offer will lead to a Thursday, 11 July strike.
Osaka Gaigo made a last minute pay offer of a measly 0.12 month's summer
bonus for Japanese workers and a 'no change' offer for the foreign teachers.
The employer did offer and extra ¥5000 extra for the winter bonus, but this
is far off the members' counter offer of one full month's bonus this year.
Teachers and staff have been suffering cuts to their bonuses and small if
any wage increases over many years and this year the General Union in
cooperation with Naniwa Union decided to stop the rot in wages and bonuses.
The employer rightfully claims a drop in student numbers but failed to show
the unions their total labour costs as they have lost many teachers over the
years and bonuses have deteriorated for those who remained. Keep reading..
What made you join the union?
a union of mostly migrant workers we put a lot of effort into recruiting new
members as people are regularly returning to their home countries.
Recruitment is essential for us.
We do a lot of different activities to make the union attractive to new
members. We hold open meetings, we make leaflets, YouTube videos , we stand
outside schools ready to talk to people willing to listen, but in the final
analysis, whether people join or not, comes down to our current members.
A recent survey of union members showed that 71.3% of people joined because
a coworker, or friend, asked them too. Keep reading..
3 July 2013
pay increase. Collective agreement signed.
In an historic first, the General
Union and Gaba Corporation have signed a collective agreement guaranteeing a
pay increase. All instructors will now receive an extra 200 yen per lesson
for the first three morning weekday lessons. This is a 13.3% increase for
A-belt instructors, which are approximately half of Gaba's instructor
The lessons with increased pay are what Gaba calls the "F-shift" lessons -
the three morning peak lessons (07:00, 07:45, and 08:30). This increase is a
good start towards improving working conditions; as some instructors have to
wake up as early as 4:30 to work these slots, they deserve extra
The additional pay began from May 2013, with the first payday being June
25th. The agreement was formally signed and dated on June 17, 2013. Keep
3 July 2013
GABA: So what has the union ever done for me?
The Gaba branch of the GU was
founded in September 2007. After the branch was founded, and asked for
The rate of pay was increased
from 1400 yen per lesson to 1500 yen.
Contract lengths were extended
from 4 months to 6 months.
Instructors were recognized as
workers entitled to union representation under Trade Union Law.
The union and company made an
agreement to negotiate in May 2012.
Since then morning peak lessons
have received an addition 200 yen incentive.
The amount of money available
for monthly incentives has been increased. Keep
30 June 2013
General Union Schools and Colleges Branch:
Stable employment for all teachers
year a bill aiming to stabilize the employment of workers on limited term
contracts passed both houses of the Diet. The bill gives workers who have
been employed continuously for over five years the right to request a
permanent contract. Disgracefully, a number of prestigious educational
institutions, including Osaka, Kobe and Waseda Universities, have since an-nounced
changes to working rules that try to impose a maximum limit of five years
employment on part-time teachers. If this attack on part-time teachers is
not answered, it will eventually lead to an undermining of the conditions of
all teachers. We are working with other unions to oppose this.
that teachers cannot rely on the good will of schools and colleges to look
after their interests. All teachers, including part-time and contract
workers need a voice. As an individual, your opinion will be ignored.
Teachers need to get organized and join a union now.
26 June 2013
General Union news archive: 1995 - 2012
It took a long time to go
through 17 years worth of the newsletters, but we've finally finished our
news archive! One of the reasons it took so long was that the old
newsletters brought back a lot of memories of some long disputes, union
meetings, and organising drives.
But now it's ready for the whole world to see. You see that we're not a
'flash in the pan' union; that we have a long history and an especially long
history at winning. Keep
19 June 2013
Strike looms over wages at Osaka Gaigo
and foreign teachers and staff represented by Naniwa Union and the General
Union have signified their intention to go on strike by submitting a strike
deadline to Osaka Gaigo Senmon Gakko.
The deadline asks that an offer to the unions' wages demands of a 5% pay
increase and a month's bonus twice per year be made by the employer. These
pay demands come after years of wage stagnation. While members understand
that due to falling student numbers Osaka Gaigo may not be as healthy as
they once were, they still believe that the employer's financial situation
shouldn't be shouldered entirely by teachers and staff.
11 June 2013
See our new Japanese eNEWS at www.jnews.generalunion.org
you ever been interested in letting your Japanese coworkers know about the
Well, now you have a great chance to invite them to read information in
General Union news has always been, and always will be available on our
website's Japanese page.
6 June 2013
Shigaku Kyosai. Are you covered?
teachers, even part timers, working in private elementary & high schools,
colleges & universities are enrolled in shigaku kyosai (a form of shakai
hoken) which consists of both health insurance and pension. In English it is
called Private School Mutual Aid.
If you haven't already, please check out the English language website. There
are benefits you mightn't have heard of:Keep
22 May 2013
ECC teachers: Your rights at risk!
ECC management announced major changes to teachers' working conditions.
New contract renewal guidelines
Revisions to teachers' work
Alarm bells ring
The General Union is extremely concerned that these changes were made
without proper consultation with the parties involved and will be dealing
with these issues over the coming months.Keep
26 April 2013
General Union gears up for a new year!
2013 Annual General Meeting brought together about 90 union members who
listened to officer reports covering the different GU sectors (Private
Language Industry - PLI, Schools and Colleges - SAC, Industrial and
Commercial - I&C), and the annual finance report and budget.
Members who have won recent victories or are currently in dispute also
asked for support in their workplaces and thanked union members for their
The current branch chair of the Peppy Kids Club Branch spoke about his
dismissal for union activity and how he was touched to see the number of
members in his branch grow after he was fired. The solidarity in this branch
will guarantee a victory and many new union activists.
Our GABA Branch's hanami party in Tokyo
13 April 2013
Union welcomes ALL to open seminars - 21 April
General Union welcomes members and non members alike to attend our open
seminars from 4PM which follows the Annual General Meeting (members only) on
21 April at L-Osaka in Temmabashi.
Last October’s open seminars were a great success. Members were even heard
to say, “I wish the seminar could have been longer,” which is not something
most people say about union meetings.
12 April 2013
A win at No Borders International School
asked their employer to enroll them in health & pension (shakai hoken) and
unemployment insurance, teachers became frustrated when No Borders insisted
that teachers pay ridiculously high premiums. The premiums were so inflated
that we suspect No Borders was attempting to have teachers pay the company's
part of the premiums.Keep reading...
06 6352 9619
080 3793 9619 (free
for softbank users) 090 9259 6759 (free for AUusers) generalunion
(free on skype)
Opinion articles sought: The union
is running a series of opinion pieces and we are calling for submissions
from members. We are looking for opinion pieces that relate to work place
issues. We are hoping to generate discussion within the union and the wider
foreign community. Submissions should be around 500 words and should be
submitted in a word document to .
You can see the last two articles: 'No hands' policy