Foreign worker ranks grow, diversify

A record high 198,380 foreigners were working in Japan as of June 1, up 10.2 percent from a year earlier, according to a recent survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

A total of 144,891 were indirectly-employed workers, including temporary or contract staff, an increase of 9.4 percent, the ministry said.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20051224a8.htm

Begunto Trick-or-Treats with Berlitz in Omiya

Flash Demo at Berlitz Omiya Branch

Teachers Disciplined For Trivial Reasons

The disrequest system at Berlitz is just one example of threats to job security faced by teachers in the eikaiwa industry. HR representatives claim that a pattern of complaints concerning any particular instructor can lead to discipline, and that six to eight official disrequests over a period of two years is enough to constitute a pattern.

Given that teachers may meet hundreds of students and teach thousands of lessons over the period of a year, added to the fact that complaints can be based on anything from the teacher?s facial expression (?she didn?t smile?) to completely subjective judgements (?we weren?t a good match?), the unfairness of this standard is immediately apparent.

The union cannot allow teachers to face discipline, and potential threats to their livelihood, based on such standards. BEGUNTO will continue to fight for job security both at Berlitz, and throughout the industry.

McDonald’s to pay millions in unpaid overtime

The decision earlier this week by McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan) to make up for inadequate overtime wages and nonscheduled cash earnings owed to nearly 130,000 part-time and regular-payroll workers has sent a shock wave through industries heavily dependent on employees paid by the hour.

A Tokyo-based managers’ union that has also received complaints about McDonald’s said the nonexistence of a union is one factor behind the problems with part-time workers’ pay.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nb20050805a6.htm

Berlitz Tokyo Union Protests Pay Freeze

Across the Tokyo region, Berlitz language teachers are striking. Members of the Begunto Union, the Berlitz teachers’ union in the Tokyo region of Japan, are striking against management actions regarding a pay freeze and introduction of new work contracts they see as less than satisfactory.

http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?article_class=3&no=243288&rel_no=1

Fighting Unfair Dismissals at IHT/Asahi Shimbun

The IHT/Asahi Shimbun branch president Chie and two other branch members were recently dismissed as part of the newspaper’s continuing campaign against our union and their refusal to respect the basic labour rights of employees and the company’s legal obligations under Trade Union Law.

We had an exciting shuro seikyu, a formal written demand to be given work, to protest and refuse their unfair dismissals at Asahi Shimbun, demanding that the newspaper let our three members go back to work. The company refused, as we expected, but we will go back again on August 2nd and August 3rd. Daily delivery of shuro seikyu is an important part of fighting an unfair dismissal in Japan.

Our members were fired after refusing to sign a contract that calls for their termination after five years. The union has for years demanded they be given contracts and recognized as employees. The company calls them independent service providers, thus refusing to recognize their legal rights as employees.

Job security is a major issue for all foreign workers in Japan. A large delegation, like we had today, is a powerful display of union solidarity and clearly shows our intent to fight all the way to reinstate our members.

U.N. calls for antidiscrimination law

The government urgently needs to acknowledge that deep discrimination against minorities, Korean and Chinese residents and other foreigners exists in Japan, an independent investigator said Monday.
Doudou Diene, appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Commission in 2002 as special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, was in Japan for more than a week on a fact-finding mission.

As a way to prevent further racial discrimination, a national law must be enacted, Diene, from Senegal, told a news conference at the United Nations University in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo.

Although Japan became a member of the U.N. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1995, it has yet to establish a national law to prevent discrimination.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20050712a1.htm