A COMPANY that employs thousands of Australians in Japan is still recruiting English teachers in Sydney despite failing to pay its staff for more than 12 days.
Japanese language company Nova, which claims to have up to 5000 Australian employees, has yet to explain the delay in payments. Australian teachers say they fear eviction from their homes and some are refusing to work until they are paid.
The company?s Brisbane office said this morning some teachers had been paid, but trainers were yet to receive their money. They refused to comment on the reason for the delay.
Nova was plunged into financial crisis in mid-June, when the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry ordered the company to suspend part of its business for six months for lying to consumers about its services when soliciting students. In the wake of the scandal many students cancelled their enrolment and Nova was forced to provide generous refunds.
In Osaka this week, 50 foreign workers, including Australians, took to the streets in protest, demanding their pay and calling for the resignation of the company CEO Nozomu Sahashi. Many trainers stopped working in protest until their salary is paid.
Nova failed to pay its foreign workers on September 14. Six days later, the Sydney office held a live web chat recruiting more staff, encouraging potential teachers to apply for the 2008 recruitment program, but making no mention of the salary problems.
Nova told one candidate: “We will send a package of employment and visa documents to be completed to start the process of getting you to Japan!”
Similar chats were also held in Boston and San Francisco as recently as Monday 24th September, 10 days after it failed to pay staff on time.
Nova currently operates 900 schools in Japan, but sources say they plan to cut up to 200 schools, making hundreds of Australian staff redundant.
According to blog posts, teachers in Nova-managed accommodation have received eviction warnings over unpaid rent despite the fact the company was deducting rent money from employees? salaries.
The company?s financial problems have dominated expatriate web forums in Japan with many worried the company is about to go bankrupt.
“Still no pay for TIs. That’s 12 days late now and it doesn’t look like they’ll be paid today either … Looks like they really are going under,” wrote contributor ?leathers? on the Japan Today forum.
“I don’t plan to work for free,” a 33-year-old Australian said.
“I’m sorry for the inconveniences caused to the students,” he said. “It’s too bad, because we want to keep the students at Nova. But the stress teachers are under, I think, is affecting the lesson quality.”