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Tozen Union wins victory over JCFL

The Tokyo Labor Commission ruled Monday morning that Japan College of Foreign Languages (JCFL, a division of Bunsai Gakuen) had illegally interfered with Tozen Union’s leafleting actions in front of the school.     Tozen Union and its JCFL Local claimed that management sent employees out to block the union from passing out leaflets and made the union look bad.

The commission ruled in favor of the union, ordering management to cease all such interference and to post a large sign apologizing to the union at the workplace for ten days.

The victory was thanks to the relentless struggle of the local.

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2 mil. employees not ‘nenkin’ enrolled

9:25 pm, January 14, 2016
Jiji Press

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry will launch a probe to identify companies neglecting their obligation to have employees join the appropriate public pension scheme, officials have said.

A ministry survey has found that an estimated 2 million people have not joined the “kosei nenkin” scheme for corporate employees even though they are legally required to do so. These people stay in the “kokumin nenkin” program for other people, including the self-employed, instead.

In Japan, incorporated businesses and sole proprietors who employ five or more people are obliged to have their workers join the corporate pension program.

Under the kosei nenkin scheme, employers cover half of the employees’ pension premiums. The workers participating in the program will be entitled to extra benefits that add to the basic pension provided under the kokumin nenkin program.

Original Article


Graduates needn’t be hostages to advance contracts

The seniors I teach at Sagami Women’s University have already handed in their final dissertations and now await graduation in March. You can feel that a heavy burden has been lifted from their shoulders: “My friends and I are going to Fiji for our graduation trip”; “I’ve already reserved the traditional gown I’m going to wear to the graduation ceremony.”

In April they will go out into the world as shakaijin, or full-fledged adult members of society. As I’ve mentioned before, graduation and finding employment are seen as a single event in Japan. Students at university weigh up their strengths and interests, research the industry they aspire to join, perhaps do an internship, and then apply and interview for jobs. This whole process is called shūkatsu.
If an employer says they want you to start next April, then that is effectively an official promise of employment, or naitei. In a previous column, I explained that the employer is, in a sense, legally bound by the naitei, but today I would like to discuss the obligations of the prospective employee.
All of my current students have already received their naitei from assumed future employers. Many companies insist that students affix their personal seal to a written pledge to work for them.

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Japan’s culture and courts need to get with the program on overtime

TV series have for decades now overused a broad range of formulaic plot devices. Let me give you an example:
The heroine scrambles to get out of the house in the morning on her way to work. She runs down the street only to collide with a man walking the other way. Blushing, she showers him with apologies and in all the kerfuffle, a piece of jewelry slips off to the ground unnoticed. Days later she runs into him (figuratively this time) in a chic cafe, and romance brews. For variety, replace jewelry with wallet, train pass or other item; stir and bake.

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Strike one: Atsuya Furuta, then head of the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association union, stands with other Nippon Professional Baseball players as he addresses fans holding up messages in support of the players' strike on Sept. 19, 2004. | KYODO

Lessons in Japan’s labor laws from striking NPB baseball stars and English teachers

Eleven years ago, baseball players walked off the field in protest for the first time in the seven-decade professional history of the game in Japan.

Owners wanted to consolidate two of the dozen pro teams, without offering a replacement. Players opposed the merger and were outraged that they had been kept out of the decision-making process. Atsuya Furuta of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows led collective bargaining on behalf of the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association union. Talks broke down and players struck six scheduled games over two days.

Players reached out to their fans with signing and photo events. Most fans sided with the striking players, but a vocal minority accused them of selfishness and having insulted their fans.

It always strikes me as odd how striking workers — rather than stubborn bosses — are often the ones accused of greed. The players did not take the decision to strike lightly; they had agonized over the decision and certainly were not taking their fans for granted. They made impassioned appeals to the fans that a strike was the only way they could save the wonderful spirit of the game.

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Strike one: Atsuya Furuta, then head of the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association union, stands with other Nippon Professional Baseball players as he addresses fans holding up messages in support of the players' strike on Sept. 19, 2004. | KYODO


今から11年前、日本のプロ野球は、日本プロ野球球団設立以来初めてのストライキを行った。当時最大規模の「球界再編」が行われようとしていたが、その決定のプロセスのなかに「選手」は入っていなかった。自分たちのことなのに、なぜ自分たちが外されているのか…? 我慢ができなかった選手たちは、当時の選手会会長である古田敦也(ふるた あつや)氏を中心に、何回も団体交渉を重ねたものの、交渉は決裂。そしてついに、開催予定だった6つの試合でストライキが決行された。


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Tozen Union Blast Past 200 Members with 20 Local Chapters

Saturday afternoon Tozen Union drove through an important milestone, 200 members with the approval of seven new members. This is about twice the number of members at the time of founding on April 25, 2010.  The Tozen executive also authorized the formation of two new local unions, bringing the number of local chapters to a nice round 20.

Tozen are pushing forward on several fronts, with major disputes at Gaba, Shane and JCFL. The labour union currently have five cases in the dock at Tokyo Labor Commission, including two against JCFL and one against Shibaura Institute of Technology, which may be settled soon.  

Other fights are brewing. 



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