Chris Beardshall (left), Louis Carlet and Adam Cleeve, members of the Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union, hold a news conference Thursday at the labor ministry after Beardshall and Cleeve filed a lawsuit against Shane Corporation Ltd. | DAISUKE KIKUCH

Teachers claim dismissals were invalid in suit against Shane English School

Two British language teachers who worked for Shane English School Japan filed suit Thursday against the school’s operator Shane Corporation Ltd., claiming that their dismissals were unfair and invalid.

Chris Beardshall, 46, and Adam Cleeve, 44, demanded that Shane pay their monthly salaries until the day of the case’s final judgment. The two were hired on fixed-term, one-year contracts, with annual renewals possible.

Beardshall said he joined Shane in 2003 and that he was dismissed as of Dec. 31, 2016, after refusing to sign a contract that included a drastic pay cut.“Shane decided to cut my salary by two-thirds … yet they know I have a wife and a child,” Beardshall said during a news conference held Thursday at the labor ministry

Read more

Venerable site: Students taking part in an anti-war rally file out through the gates of Tohoku University in Sendai in 1950. The storied university recently revealed that it plans not to renew the fixed-term contracts of up to 3,200 employees, thereby ensuring that they will not be able to become regular staff according to a recent revision to the Labor Contract Law. | KYODO

‘Five-year rule’ triggers ‘Tohoku college massacre’ of jobs

I have discussed the “five-year rule” several times before in this column — the revision of the Labor Contract Law (Rodo Keiyaku Ho) enacted in 2013. Under the amendment, any worker employed on serial fixed-term contracts (yūki koyō) for more than five years can give themselves permanent status. See my earlier stories for more details, particularly my March 2013 column, “Labor law reform raises rather than relieves workers’ worries

The amendment was supposed to give workers more job security. Or at least that is what lawmakers claimed the purpose was. From the start I had my doubts — doubts that are now being borne out.

Read more

私の原点はマンハッタンデモ

全国一般東京ゼネラルユニオン(略称:東ゼン労組)

執行委員・主任オルグ ルイス・カーレット

1995年8月6日。アメリカによって日本に原爆が投下された日からちょうど50年。私はニューヨーク、マンハッタンのど真ん中で、反戦、反核を叫んでいた。私はその日のデモのために、渾身の力を注いでいた。アメリカでは、かつて日本に原爆を投下した事実についての認識が薄いこともあって、私は自らの使命の如くデモの成功に向け奔走した。マンハッタンの中央通りで大勢の仲間とデモ行進をしたことは、今でも昨日のことのように脳裏に刻み込まれている。

Read more

Time to consign ‘death by overwork’ to Japan’s history

A 24-year-old pressured to work long, hard hours beyond what she could tolerate at the largest advertising agency in Japan jumped from her third-floor dorm room on Christmas Day of last year.

This story went viral, and labor researchers around the country mumbled to themselves, “Dentsu again?”

Dentsu is an ad giant notorious for brutal work hours and its merciless management style. Any labor law textbook worth its salt that covers karōshi (death by overwork) will also introduce the Supreme Court’s famous Dentsu death-by-overwork case. In August 1991 a man, also 24, hanged himself at his home. In 2000, Japan’s highest court ruled that the “suicide was caused by horrendous working conditions.” Eventually Dentsu and the surviving family agreed on a settlement of ¥168 million.

Read more

Sagamihara massacre begs question: Do we want a society that only values usefulness?

Let me apologize up front for tackling an issue that is not purely about labor per se.

The brutal mass murder in July in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, made me feel that our society must address a simple yet difficult question: What does work mean to human beings? I feel that I must candidly convey to you, dear readers, what this tragedy says to me, and then ask you for your opinions.

Read more

東京学芸大学事件命令書交付について

当委員会は、本日、標記の不当労働行為救済申立事件について、命令書を交付しましたのでお知らせします。命令書の概要は、以下のとおりです(詳細は別紙)。

1 当事者

申立人
全国一般東京ゼネラルユニオン、全国一般東京ゼネラルユニオンTGUISS支部
被申立人
国立大学法人東京学芸大学

2 事件の概要

Read more

Tozen Union Wins Precedent-Setting Negotiating Language Case Against Tokyo Gakugei University

The Tokyo Labor Relations Board on Wednesday ordered Tokyo Gakugei University to “engage in collective bargaining without insisting it be conducted in Japanese or that (the union) bring an interpreter.”

In the first case of its kind, Tozen Union and the TGUISS Teachers Union had sued the school for making negotiations in Japanese a condition of holding collective bargaining.
The university argued that talks should be in Japanese because “this is Japan” and that forcing management to negotiate in a foreign language would be an intolerable burden.

Read more

労働実態踏まえ社保加入認める…東京地裁判決

労働時間が正社員の4分の3未満であることを理由に社会保険の加入資格を失うのは不当として、東京都内の英会話学校に勤める男性講師が日本年金機構に加入資格の確認を求めた訴訟で、東京地裁は17日、男性は保険に加入できるとの判決を言い渡した。舘内比佐志裁判長は、労働時間だけでなく報酬額や職務内容などを総合的に考慮して「加入資格があった」と判断した。

Read more

Tozen Union Wins Berlitz Pension Suit, but …

June 17th, 2016 1:25 PM
Tokyo District Court on Friday overturned Japan’s Pension Agency’s 2011 decision rejecting Tozen member Yancey Co’s appeal to enroll in Japan’s shakai hoken health and pension scheme.

Co’s employer Berlitz Japan had kicked him off shakai hoken in 2008, after his work hours apparently fell below 30 hours per week in the wake of the global financial crisis.

The 30-hour, or 3/4 of a full timer, threshold can be found nowhere in labor law but rather in the agency’s internal memo dated June 6, 1980.

The English language instructor from Vancouver, Canada, had asked the agency to force Berlitz to enroll him but through three appeals the agency ruled against him.

Undeterred, Co sued the agency in January 2012. “I wanted part-timers to have the right to enroll.”image

After four and a half years of litigation, Tozen Union sees the Friday victory as a partial victory only.

“We insisted that the memo has no legal force and should not be used to kick someone off shakai hoken,” said Louis Carlet, an executive of Tozen Union. “We were hoping the court would declare the memo illegal. Unfortunately the judge didn’t go that far.”

Tozen Attorney Shoichi Ibuski said, “This is one step forward and we hope to use this to go further still.”

(See video presentation below.)

English:

Japanese:

Harcèlement sexuel au Japon : «C’était mon supérieur et je devais obéir»

Elles ne donneront pas leur nom et n’apparaîtront pas en photo. La honte, la timidité, le «dégoût» de soi et la peur de perdre leur emploi sont toujours vifs. Il leur a donc fallu «beaucoup d’énergie pour trouver la force de parler», de nommer les choses et de préciser les gestes. Avant de porter plainte et d’entreprendre une action en justice, qui aura peut-être une issue ce mardi lors d’une nouvelle audience au tribunal de Kobe.

A.T. et Y.T. ont toutes les deux 24 ans et leur histoire illustre comment le harcèlement sexuel peut être, au Japon également, une réalité aussi triviale que répandue dans le monde du travail. En mars, un rapport du gouvernement révélait qu’un tiers des employées étaient harcelées sexuellement. Sur les 1 700 femmes qui ont accepté de répondre à l’enquête, 40 % citaient des cas d’attouchements non désirés. Et 63 % ont choisi de ne rien dire.

Read more