Assistant Language Teachers of Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union
Many of us are working in elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools in either the public and private systems. We are inclusive regarding ALTs from private dispatching companies, direct hires to boards of education and private schools, and to those on the JET Program.
We are part of Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union, or Tozen for short. Our union traces its history back to 1956!
Our Union is a fantastic example of intercultural cooperation and understanding with members, organizers and executives representing many different nations.
At RCS Corporation, a private dispatching company, our member Mr. Taber, was successful in negotiating with RCS for receiving unpaid wages for August 2003. It is not uncommon for private dispatching companies to receive remuneration for the month of August from a board of education, yet not even pay the ALT for any work in August. Mr. Taber has changed that at RCS.
Also at RCS, Mr. Jobson was successful in seeking a ruling from the Labor Standards Office against RCS for over-deductions. All past, present and future employees of RCS should no longer be deducted the 15,000 yen penalty for missing a day’s work: more than what we actually made per day! Apparently this ruling has cost RCS over 1,000,000 yen in back wages.
Every year, scores of ALTs working for private dispatching companies are unfairly dismissed. We estimate that you have more than a 50% chance of being unfairly dismissed or quitting because of unfair working conditions when working for a private ALT dispatching company. Often it not the company who requests the dismissal but rather the local board of education. These private dispatching company ALT positions are very unstable. With more Union members we can help you to improve working conditions for you and your Japanese co-workers.
The gyomu itaku, or outsourcing system is the biggest threat to ALT job stability. Most so-called Assistant Language Teacher dispatch companies in Japan, are in fact dispatching teachers without a licence, in violation of Dispatch Law and Education Law. Others have valid dispatching licences, but still fail to meet the minimum standards specified in Labour Standards Law, regarding paid vacation, and Dispatch Law regarding mandatory employee health insurance enrollment, as well as the maximum dispatch period before a position should become a direct hire. In spite of the illegalities, unscrupulous boards of education and private schools throughout Japan knowingly continue to engage in business with companies like ACUP Japan, Borderlink, Heart Corporation, IEC, IES, Interac, Japan Advanced Labor Staff Services (JAL Haken, JALSS), Joytalk, Korakuen English Centre, Maxceed, RCS Corporation, TRILS, and many others.
University, college, and technical school lecturers are also illegally dispatched, as are many Japanese part-time teachers of English, probably even the ones you work with at your schools.
We are thus engaging in an information campaign to raise the awareness of the issue of these scofflaw contracts which, beyond being illegal, lower standards and respect for not only ALTs, teachers, and lecturers, but also for the education adminstrators and city hall officials who sign them, as well as the field of education in Japan in general.
Already, the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education, and even the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Technology has recognized the illegal nature of these contracts and has given encouragement and official direction to return to direct hire contracts.