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...
11 April 2013
Job security at ECC...coming soon???
General Union's campaigning for job security at ECC has seen some major
changes. From this spring teachers can become seishain and are also one step
closer to permanent employment.
Native teachers now have the opportunity to be promoted to seishain with
recommendations from their supervisors. ECC management has told the union
that from March 1st, native teachers working in schools will also be
eligible forseishain positions. Native teachers promoted to seishain will
have to complete 10 hours of extra non-teaching duties. In the words of ECC
management, "This is one big step forward". Though with only 2 native
teachers (both district office workers) being promoted to seishain this
spring, the General Union will pay close attention to ECC's sincerity in the
promotion of actual teaching staff to seishain. ECC employees can be
recommended for seishain positions by managers throughout the year with
appointment starting in March, June, September and December. Keep reading...
21 March 2013
Hanami BBQ party: 7 April
that time of year again - time for getting together and enjoying spring
at our annual Hamami party by the river. This year we are having
Date: Sunday, 7 April
Time: from 1pm until about 6pm
Place: Across from Temmabashi Station on the river bank. Look out for
the union flags. You can find a map here.
1,000YEN for food and soft drinks. We sell the beer. It’s a good time
with usually about 40 or 50 people.
Bring your family, or a friend. Members and non-members alike welcome.
Annual General Meeting: 21 April from 2PM. Open seminars from 4PM
Union members from across the Kansai area and delegates from union branches
in Tokyo and Nagoya will meet on 21 April to discuss this year's activity,
elect a new executive committee, and hold our important strike vote.
We hope to see you at L-0saka with a party to follow at the union office.
Nomination forms are available for union members at the agm
4PM - All Welcome to our OPEN SEMINARS
New Labour Contract law - find out how this will impact on your working
life and learn how to best take advantage of this law requiring permanent
employment after 5 years.
Seminar 2: Your rights at work - Paid holidays; employment, health, and
pension insurance; dismissals, etc. Find out what the law says you should be
getting at work.
7 March 2013
GABA assures union: "We are determined to improve working conditions"
Monday March 5th 2013 the General Union Gaba branch held our first
collective bargaining session of the year with Gaba.
Five members and three union representatives attended, and we made it clear
that we expected improvements, and ultimately, the company said that they
were "determined to improve conditions" for instructors, and that they were
considering increasing the TNT bonus and the per lesson pay rate. Keep reading...
5 March 2013
It's a matter of dignity - opinion piece
work at one of the "better" high schools. It is that is basically a feeder
school to a few universities in the Kansai region. As a part-timer, or
hijokin in Japanese, I am treated well enough. I'm even enrolled in health
and pension insurance.
All that changed this week as I attempted to prepare
for the new semester. With a rebuilding program almost completed,
we moved into new classrooms and offices.
21 February 2013
and suit jackets. Here's what teachers said.
Back in December we asked the question "Does wearing a jacket make you a
better teacher?" In 2 months we had a total of 138 respondents and the
answer was a resounding "No". All 138 people said that jackets have no
bearing on the quality of teaching.
Our second question asked if students want teachers to wear jackets. While a
large majority believe that students do not care, 22 people responded that
they believe students want us to wear jackets.
Our original question came about when ECC tried to tie wearing a jacket to
evaluations by school directors, with this influencing pay increases.
Through negotiations, the ECC branch has since forced the company to stop
their plans. Saying that though, the company is heavily encouraging teachers
to wear jackets. And GABA, despite teachers not being employees, still
demands it. Keep reading...
6 February 2013
Tezukayama University faces criminal charges of labour standards violations
Unpaid Allowances in the 2010 School Year Tezukayama University in Nara
failed to pay a General Union member an allowance for cancelled classes.
Classes scheduled to be taught in September 2010 were cancelled by the
university on the grounds that “not enough students had signed up.
Tezukayama paid the September wages, but nothing for the rest of the
The union sent demands to the university asking that the cancelled classes
be paid for as per the Labour Standards Law since the cancelled work was
attributable to the employer. However, the university refused payment,
insisting that “according to the employment contract, we only have to pay
one month's worth of the wages”; that “the university has the authority to
cancel classes at its own discretion”; and that “the cancellation was not
for reasons attributable to the university”. Keep reading...
30 January 2013
Your rights at risk
ECC wants to restrict your private lives, and dictate who you can socialize
with. Your personal rights are endangered.
Now’s a good time to support yourself and your colleagues in fighting for
our basic human rights. Being a member protects YOU and your working
conditions. Say NO to ECC management’s proposed “no-socialization with
The union is concerned that you could be disciplined, non-renewed or even
meeting in public
social invitation from a student
student organized event
even accepting friend requests on Facebook, or being followed on Twitter.
1. CTL Courtesy Calls
We have been told that MIs will be asked to inform the office staff to tell
teachers about CTLs when possible. We wish to see if this is happening.
Please let us know if you are not informed about your CTLs.
2. Participate In Training And Workshops
We have been told that MIs will be informed to let all instructors know
about upcoming training sessions, and allow all instructors to participate
who have not already been invited to do so. Let us know if you are not being
12 January 2013
University & school teachers will not be victims of new Labour Contract LawIn August 2012 a new law was passed in Japan to enhance job security for the
more than 30% of employees working on limited term contracts. The law is
supposed to ensure that after five years of continuous employment from the
date the law comes into effect, 1 April 2013, that the worker is legally
entitled to receive a contract without a term limit. This means your
employer would need a real reason to end your employment. They would no
longer be able just to tell you, “Thanks for your efforts, but your contract
However because of the efforts and influence of pro-business politicians and
organisations, the law is full of loopholes which employers can exploit to
undermine the law's stated purpose, which is to increase employment security
for workers on limited term contracts. For example, it doesn't include time
spent working for an employer before April 1st 2013 and time spent working
for an employer before a six-month "cooling-off period" (break) in
1 January 2013
Berlitz union wins raise, bonus in settlement (Japan Times)
¥110 million claim against teachers, union execs dropped,
ending four-year fight By JAMES McCROSTIE The four-year legal battle between management and
teachers at Berlitz Japan was declared over Thursday as both sides signed an
agreement to end the company's lawsuit against union officials. Claiming an 11-month strike by unionized teachers
to be illegal, Berlitz Japan had sued five teachers, two union executives
and Begunto, the teachers' union, for ¥110 million.
In addition to dropping its suit, the company agreed to pay current union
members a base-up raise and a lump-sum bonus to the union. Current Begunto
President Paul Kennedy said the "lump sum can be designated for use by the
union membership," and that the union has yet to come to a decision on what
to do with the money.
Keep reading on the Japan Times website.
Does wearing a jacket make you a better teacher?
Some language schools, including ECC and Gaba, have policies that
either require teachers to wear a jacket, or at least heavily encourages it.
ECC even links salary increases to wearing a jacket. Take our survey and
tell us what you think. You don't have to work in eikaiwa. The survey is for
both language school teachers and those working at high schools and
universities.See the survey results.
Winter 2012 - National Union Voice Online
Osaka University to introduce 5 year limit for PT teachers. Others to
The General Union, along with other trade unions and individual teachers has
been informed by Osaka University that it intends to amend its working rules
from next Aprilto include a five year limit for its part-time teachers.Ironically,
the reason given by the university for introducing the limit is the passage
through the Diet in August of this year of a law aimed at increasing
security of employment of workers on limited term contracts.Keep reading...
Peppy Kids Club fires branch chair - union moves into action
After eight years of service, the chair of our newly formed union branch at
Peppy English Kids Club has been fired for union activity. The company will
claim it is a simple case of “contract non-renewal” for poor performance
amongst other things, but after eight years and eight consecutive contracts,
the union strongly believes it is an illegal firing under Japanese Trade
However, the firing has not had the intended effect. Even more teachers at
the company have joined the union out of disgust with the actions of
management in dismissing the branch chair.Keep
Official mediation talks with Epion (Mabuchi, Willway) at Osaka Labor
Commission over a 14,000 yen pay cut to our member's salary. Graham is one
of the rare foreigners working at a language school in Japan who has
permanent employment. We believe the excessive pay cut is an attempt to
force him to resign.
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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