Bread & Roses: Needless Death of a Sri Lankan Detainee


SNA (Tokyo) — “Japan is safer than other countries; the Japanese are kind; the streets are clean; and it’s easy to live here.” I hear foreigners say these things. But I also hear it from Japanese who have never lived abroad. The mainstream media’s Nippon Sugoi! campaign is working, perhaps, but it’s not far off from the nation’s general reputation. But read on: The current reality may blow your image of my country to smithereens. Can such a thing be happening in Japan in 2021?

Read moreBread & Roses: Needless Death of a Sri Lankan Detainee


東ゼン労組の新たな支部、TWIST (東京ウエストインターナショナル東ゼン)が2021年3月9日の午後、東京ウエストインターナショナルスクール(以下「TWIS」)前で抗議行動を行いました。八王子にあるTWISの講師たちは、組合員に対する不当解雇に対して抗議をするべく集まった。2021年1月末、組合員たちは膨大な未払い残業代、まとまった休憩時間や休憩場所が確保されていないこと、有給休暇が少ないこと、職場における一般的なサポートや整頓の欠如などの問題に受け、学校側に対し支部結成通知を行った。







Protest Held at Tokyo West International School

A new Tozen Union local called TWIST (Tokyo West International School Tozen) held a protest on the afternoon of Tuesday March 9 at Tokyo West International School. Teachers at this Hachioji, Tokyo school gathered to protest the recent unfair dismissals of union members. They had declared their new union in late January of 2021, because many worked overtime without pay, lacked breaks, had fewer days of paid leave, and faced a general lack of support and disorganization in the workplace.

The union had just one collective bargaining session with management before the school decided to dismiss several members on February 19. 

“We had a great meeting with management explaining our demands,” one member said. “We were open, honest and thought management had listened to our concerns. We wanted to work together to improve our work environment. Now we feel disappointed that many of our members were dismissed in retaliation for forming a union. Management rejected our pleas to reverse the dismissals before the March 8th deadline we set. We want to make others aware of the situation. Talented teachers are being dismissed without cause, and we want to prevent that from happening now and in the future.” 

TWIST members struck during the protest and handed out flyers explaining what the school is doing and why the union is protesting. The flyer also included a link to the Tozen Union website ( and Twitter page handle. During the action, TWIST Executive President Taylor Healy shouted through a megaphone: “TWIS has taken unethical and unjust action against union members. TWIS admin are attempting to union bust. This misconduct must be stopped. Reinstate union members. Save our teachers!” Before and during the protest, management asked union members to stop striking and leafleting, and redirected students away from members. 

Parents approached union members, expressed their support in the movement and wished them luck. Teachers received many supportive messages from non-union staff members at the school as well as from students and parents. TWIST union is glad to see the message of injustice against teachers coming across and to receive so much encouragement. However, members see a long fight ahead of them. 


After the protest, parents received an email from management stating, “We firmly believe that our school has been taking sincere actions, and we continue to work to peacefully resolve any concerned matters.” Management is stonewalling on holding collective bargaining with the union, and we have yet to receive a written response to demands. The day after the protest, management sent an email to all staff members of the school, apparently directed at staff who did not protest. The message offered teachers free tapioca tea in appreciation. There is no amount of tea they can offer that will make up for the unfair dismissals. Reinstate our members. Negotiate with the union.

For more details on TWIST union demands; follow this link:

Bread & Roses: Osaka Court Overturns Welfare Cut

SNA (Tokyo) — A Japanese court overturned a welfare reduction for the first time ever on February 22, 2021. The Osaka District Court ruled against the government’s 2013 public assistance reduction of ¥67 billion (US$632 million), marking the first court win for the Inochi no Toride litigation campaign, involving more than 1,000 plaintiffs in 29 prefectures around Japan.

Attorney Tetsuro Kokubo, deputy head of the defense team, said, “This is the first time in my long career as a lawyer that I cried when I heard the verdict.” The comment poignantly conveys the challenges of fighting state power.

Read moreBread & Roses: Osaka Court Overturns Welfare Cut

ALC Press Workers Unionize

Employees of publisher and language training company ALC Press Inc. unionized last June after management pressured them to switch to part-time zero-hour contracts with no social benefits. 

Since May 2020, ALC placed employees on required furlough on certain days each month, paying them reduced wages as per Article 26 of the Labor Standards Act. Although the publisher continues to operate business as usual, it has targeted workers in its domestic language and other departments who had refused to downgrade their working conditions, including switching to non-fixed, zero-hour contracts. 

“I’m working exactly the same hours as I was in 2019, if not more, but management are still deducting my salary,” said one long-serving employee.

Required leave has been in effect since May 2020 and there is no foreseeable end. Management has also begun to refuse to renew certain fixed-term contracts.

ALC employees, some of whom served the company for over 25 years are, in their words, “shocked, disgusted, disturbed, and saddened” by what they once considered a family company. A union was formed in Tozen Union to stop to what they believe to be illegal forced furloughs. In some cases, certain employees have lost close to 1 million yen from their salaries since the forced furloughs began.

Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union ALC Union (全国一般東京ゼネラルユニオンALC 支部) was established with just three members in June 2020 but has since more than quintupled in less than six months. Management do not have the interests of their employees at heart and only care about making a big, fat profit, even at the cost of financially devastating their workers, many of whom have young families and mortgages and are desperately struggling to make ends meet.

The company management has changed ownership and management several times over the past few years.

ALC’s website states,
“ALC bring out the best in each employee, regardless of gender, age, or experience. We also endeavor to create an environment that makes it easy for everyone to work and continue working at each career stage. ALC also promotes the careers of its female employees.” 

It’s time to hold ALC to its pledge.

We, ALC Union, appeal to all ALC employees who feel isolated, worried and concerned to get in touch with us – regardless of your contract, experience, position/job or nationality. This union is for everyone. Our goal is solidarity and to unite all ALC employees to ‘continue working at each career stage’ without the fear of management taking away our livelihoods and driving us out of the company.

If ALC’s new management do not agree or at least compromise with union demands, industrial action may have to take place. 

To all ALC employees: We encourage you to get in touch with us before it is too late for you. Contact ALC Union case officer Gerome Rothman at 

違法の指摘にたいし「報復」か? シェーン英会話学校が講師を解雇 Shane Dismisses Leading Labour Union Organisers

English is after Japanese.
元々 Yahoo News掲載.
English translation originally posted on Shingetsu News Agency.

Read more違法の指摘にたいし「報復」か? シェーン英会話学校が講師を解雇 Shane Dismisses Leading Labour Union Organisers

Tozen Daigaku: YUKI MUKI! 東ゼン大学 有期・無期

Tozen Daigaku – Yukimuki and Job Security in Japan

Fixed-term or temporary employment is called yuki-koyo (有期雇用); while open-ended or permanent employment is called muki-koyo (無期雇用).

Tozen organizer Louis Carlet will explore the legal and practical angles of these two types of employment; their implications for job security; the relevant case law; and how we should fight for job security.

東ゼン大学 ー 有期・無期と雇用の安定

Emergency Tozen Daigaku Unemployment During the Pandemic 緊急東ゼン大学 コロナ禍の失業保険制度


On 6th December, we are holding a lecture on Unemployment During the Pandemic via YouTube livestream. We will be holding a Q&A after the lecture, so please ask us questions in the comments.

Tozen Daigaku Equal Employment Opportunity Act 東ゼン大学 均等法


Atty Keiko Kato will lecture on Equal Employment Opportunity Act Tozen Daigaku (YouTube livestream). We’ll take questions after the lecture, so ask us in the comments section.