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 tozen.rothman@gmail.com 

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.
英文は日本語の下。
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
東ゼン労組の専従オルグルイス・カーレットが、雇用の安定との関係性、判例、そして私達は安定した雇用を手に入れるために何ができるのか、これら2つの雇用形態の法律と実用面について講義します。

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

【緊急東ゼン大学】
12月6日、コロナ禍の失業保険制度についての講義を、YouTube配信します。
質問タイムもあるので、コメント欄で質問お待ちしております。

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

11月の東ゼン大学は、均等法についてです。
講師には、加藤桂子弁護士にお越しいただきます。
2020年11月15日(日)14:00〜YouTubeライブ配信します。
コメント欄にて質問も受け付けますので、ぜひご視聴ください!

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.

保育園運営の株式会社ピアソン、組合との団交拒否は違法行為と認定

2020年10月30日 東京

東京都労働委員会は10月28日、保育園を運営する株式会社ピアソンが東ゼン労組との団体交渉を拒否したことは、労働組合法第7条2号を違反する不当労働行為であると認定した。

昨年12月、校長である中村博一氏は、生徒の保護者と講師に対し、2020年2月16日をもって羽根木インターナショナルプリスクール(下北沢)を閉校することを発表した。講師たちにとっては、2ヶ月以内に失業するという通告でもあった。

組合側は、組合員の雇用を守るために団交を申し入れるべく、ファックスやメール、電話で数え切れないほど連絡を試みたものの、中村氏はそれらを無視し続けた。株式会社ピアソンによる団交拒否は、日本国憲法第28条で定められている、講師や組合の権利を侵害する行為である。

東ゼン労組はこの件について東京都労働委員会へ不当労働行為救済を申し立てたが、株式会社ピアソンは都労委からの電話にすら応じなかった。中村氏は従業員だけでなく、行政の連絡すらも応じず、最終的には都労委への調査期日には現れず、答弁書などの提出も一切なかった。

そして、組合員の生活に関しては、新型コロナウイルス感染症の流行は、学校閉校による解雇の影響をより一層悪化させた。
「まさにゴミのように使い捨てられました」解雇された講師の一人、アダム氏はそう言いました。「このコロナ禍で使い捨てられました。就職先はありません」

その一方、会社はまるで何事もなかったかのように活発にビジネスを続けている。

例えば、4月17日には、つくばインターナショナルナーサリースクール(愛称:TINS[ティンズ])の新たなウェブサイトが公開され、4月27日にはアフタースクールのプログラムまで発表された。

東ゼン労組は直ちに新たに要求事項を提出し、団交を申し入れる。
私たちは、株式会社ピアソンを交渉の場に就かせ、アダム氏への未払い賃金を支払い、この危機的状況における社会通念に背いた行為の責任を取らせるために、今後も諦めずに闘っていく。

Preschool operator KK Pearson snubs union, breaks law: Labor Commission

[Tokyo, October 30, 2020]

    Preschool operator Pearson KK’s refusal to meet Tozen Union for collective bargaining (CB) violates Article 7.2 of Japan’s Trade Union Act, the Tokyo Labor Commission ruled Wednesday. 

Last December, Principal Hirokazu Nakamura informed parents and teachers that Hanegi International Pre-School (in Shimokitazawa) would close on February 16, 2020. This meant teachers’ jobs would be gone in two months. 

Nakamura ignored countless union faxes, emails, and phone calls trying to set up a CB session to save a union member’s job. Pearson’s refusal violates the teachers’ and the union’s rights under Article 28 of the Constitution  

Tozen sued Pearson in the Tokyo Labor Commission, but the company ignored the commission’s calls. Nakamura refuses to face his employees and even his government. Pearson never turned up to a hearing or filed a piece of paper in their defense.

The Covid-19 pandemic worsened the impact of Hanegi’s collapse. “They put us out into the street like garbage,” Adam S, one of the fired teachers said. “Used us and threw us out into this horrible pandemic. There’s no work.”

Meanwhile, the company still runs a brisk business as if nothinghappened. Tsukuba International Nursery School rolled out a new website on April 17 and announced a new after-school program for their students on April 27. 

Tozen Union will immediately issue a renewed demand for CB. We will not give up the fight to bring Pearson KK to the table, pay Adam S. his back wages, and take responsibility for its anti-social behavior during this crisis. 

Tozen Daigaku Defamation 東ゼン大学 名誉毀損

10月の東ゼン大学は、皆さまお待ちかね、名誉毀損についてです!
講師には、指宿昭一弁護士をお呼びします。
講義のあとに質問タイムを設けますので、質問のある方はコメント欄にお願いします。

Atty Shoichi Ibuski will lecture on defamation Tozen Daigaku (YouTube livestream). We’ll take questions after the lecture, so ask us in the comments section. Check details below.

Shane Begins Docking Teachers’ Wages

By: Veronika Danovich

When Shane Corporation teachers checked their payslips on Tuesday September 15, 2020, they noticed a new category listed as “Repayment.” Teachers at the language school had negotiated to stop the company from taking this dreadful action. In July, the school informed them of a surprise loan that had been imposed on them during Japan’s lockdown months, initially understood as salary. Since then, the company has made no effort to negotiate in good faith. 

On August 28, newly elected teacher representatives met with Principal Alex Cox and Director Ian Holden. According to the minutes, “the average monthly deduction will be around 35,000 yen over 8 months” for teachers who were pushed into option 1  who could keep their paid leave but are required to pay back the salary that was paid to them during lockdown. Some teachers report being deducted upwards of 40,000 yen. Many teachers have expressed concern over illegal deductions made without their consent. They are also worried about the continued financial hardship they face with lower pay that will continue for 7 more paychecks. 

Teachers pushed into option 2 were permitted to keep the salary that was paid to them; however they have lost most of their paid leave and were told to work 6-day weeks to make up the days they owe for when the company was under lockdown. Certain district managers have told option 2 teachers that if they do not finish making up the extra days by March 31, 2021, then they will also be deducted for the remainder of this odious debt. Some teachers feel this is a trap and that no matter what option they choose; they will still get their wages docked. Other teachers report that they make themselves available for 6-day weeks but are still given no extra work and are told that there are no lessons to make up in certain districts. They worry that even though they make an effort to comply with what the company dictates; they will still get deducted.

The two “options” as the company called it, were not options at all. Teachers were forced to choose one or the other and if they refused to choose, they were forced onto option 1. Japanese staff were given no options, were deducted before teachers were and will be docked for 6 more paychecks. Initially, teachers were told that they would be deducted 50% from their paychecks for two consecutive months which forced many panicked and stressed teachers to choose option 2 due to the fear of suddenly not being able to pay their bills and other necessary expenses. However, the company later decided the “repayments” would be divided between 8 paychecks. This decision came without sufficient notice as the deadline the company set to decide on the options they forced upon teachers had passed. 

  Some option 2 teachers have requested to be reclassified to option 1 due to this new information, but the company refused, citing the deadline. Option 2 teachers are now forced to work during holidays mandated in their contracts, which the company says does not count towards the days owed. Shane offers no additional pay. According to Shane’s General Directives and Guidelines for Teachers section 5.1; “Teachers will earn a daily bonus of ¥15,000 for voluntarily working on a non-scheduled day of work” The company chooses to ignore these rules for option 2 teachers. 

Following the deduction, on Wednesday September 16, 22 teachers struck in response to the company’s actions. Teachers gathered in front of Shane schools in the Chiba and Saitama districts to hand out flyers to passersby and inform them about the treatment of teachers. “We did not consent to this” was written on one side of the flyers, while the other side provided public access articles and information detailing Shane’s actions  regarding corona pay and taking away paid leave.

Union membership continues to increase with both Japanese and foreign staff. The union will not give up in their efforts to negotiate despite the company trying to delay and refusing any real discussion of union demands. We want to come to some kind of an agreement with management before escalating to further legal action. Shane needs to take these demands seriously and realize what they are doing is not ok by any legal or moral standards.

Tozen Daigaku Power Harassment 東ゼン大学 パワハラ

9月の東ゼン大学は、パワハラについてのYouTubeライブ配信講義!
今回も前回に引き続き、二人の講師をお招きします。
加藤桂子弁護士(法律)奥貫 妃文(判例)
講義の後に、YouTubeのコメント欄にて質問タイムを設けますので、是非ご参加下さい。
詳細と動画のリンクは下記をご覧ください。

Tozen Union Atty Keiko Kato and President Hifumi Okunuki will lecture on power harassment law and case law for our September Tozen Daigaku (YouTube livestream).
We’ll take questions after the lecture, so ask us in the comments section.
Check details below.