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:

Japan is not an “at will” employment country.

Many of our members are not Japanese and work at small or very small companies. Working at small companies has many advantages: it’s often more human and you have a direct relationship with the boss. However, if there are problems, those good points often turn into bad ones, since you can be on the receiving end of arbitrary decisions that are difficult to remedy, especially if you do not know your rights. Let’s take an example of a common problem that we at Tozen have to deal with quite often: illegal dismissal.

Read more

Tozen Vlog for May 18, 2014

ICCに対する次の裁判の期日 ~ ICC Court Date

tozen vs. icc
Tozen vs. ICC

東ゼン労祖はICCという外国語学校に対して紛争中です。ICCは、昨年、ブルキッチ組合員を違法に解雇しました。
我々の次の法廷は、6/12(木)13:10 より、横浜地方裁判所502号室です。
みなさんの連帯をよろしくお願いします。

Tozen union is currently in dispute with language school ICC over their illegal firing of Sulejman Brkic.
Our next court hearing in TOZEN vs. ICC LANGUAGE SCHOOL is on JUNE 12 at 13:10 at Yokohama District Court room 502.

All supporters are welcome to attend.

Tozen Vlog for April 8, 2014

Tozen Vlog for April 2, 2014 – Redacted Due to Victory!

GABA Workers Union

Tozen Report: All Day Dispute Action Against GABA

Last Friday, Tozen GABA Workers Union took its first all day action against GABA’s threat to fire Tozen GABA Workers Union President Tyler Christensen.

We began at 6AM to leaflet GABA Shinagawa Learning Studio. We moved on to Gaba corporate HQ at 9AM. There as we handed out leaflets, GABA representative Satomi Odaka emerged from the building.

The union handed Mr. Odaka a notification of dispute, outlining the specific demands of our dispute.  You can read about them here.  Mr. Odaka responded by asking for our “road use permit,” which we don’t need, physically obstructing Case Officer Gerome Rothman and threatening to call the police.

GABA then took the step of calling the police in an attempt to shut down our protest.  We explained to the police that we were conducting legitimate union activity.  The police decided not to interfere.

We did a loud protest call with the megaphone, and concluded our action. After that, we filed a protest with the company demanding an apology for their obstruction of legitimate union activity.  We demanded they follow the law and desist from interference with union activity.

GABA Workers Union

Tozen went to Yokohama Learning Studio, where Tyler works.  During leafleting, Tyler spoke directly to his colleagues, sharing his story and drawing their support.  He also took to the megaphone in an appeal to GABA management, asking them to “Let me do my job.”

GABA members and Tozen supporters wrapped up their protest at the end of the GABA work day, in Chiba.  We leafleted at the Chiba Learning Studio.

Our first protest against GABA spanned 2 prefectures and the Tokyo Metropolis, 3 Learning Studios, and GABA HQ.  We confronted a hostile management, and meaningfully engaged with sympathetic members of the GABA community.

We would love to think that a marathon fourteen hours of protesting GABA’s stubbornness will mean the end of our struggle for Tyler.  We know, however, this is just the very beginning.

We need your help.

Tozen will not back down when its members are threatened with unfair discipline and attacks on their rights as workers. Tozen knows that all workers in Japan have the right to join a union, negotiate with management, and take collective action to improve their working conditions.

Join our fight.  Let’s make GABA better for everybody.