Tozen ALTs Enter Dispute with Interac  東ゼン労組のALT支部が、インタラックと労働紛争に突

On May 11, 2021, Tozen Union entered into dispute with Interac. Since our first collective bargaining (CB) in October 2019, Tozen Union and Interac have taken several important steps toward working out a deal. But after twenty-six CB sessions, workplace safety and wage issues remain. Our campaign to improve working conditions at Interac is important not just for employees, but for students and Japan’s education system.

2021年5月11日より東ゼン労組は株式会社インタラック関東南と(以下、インタラック)労働紛争に入りました。2019年10月に行われた初の団体交渉以来、東ゼン労組とインタラックは解決の方向へ進展を遂げてきました。しかし、職場の安全と賃金については、26回もの団体交渉を繰り返す中で、未だに進展がありません。東ゼン労組がインタラックの労働条件をより良くしようと挑んでいるこのキャンペーンは、労働者だけではなく、生徒たちや日本の教育システムにとっても大事な活動です。

 

Our Work

私たちの仕事

Interac ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers) are dispatched to teach English in public and other schools in coordination with Japanese English teachers. Most ALTs are native speakers, and it is our job to add context and color to lessons, bringing English to life in the classroom. ALTs foster international understanding in the schools and communities they are part of.

インタラックのALT(外国語指導助手)は、インタラックから学校に派遣されて、日本人の英語教師と共に英語の指導をしております。ほとんどのALTはネイティブスピーカーです。私たちの仕事は、活きた授業を提供し、授業を彩り豊かにすること、及び、教室で英語に命を吹き込むことです。ALTは、学校及びコミュニティで、国際理解を育んでいます。

 

Our Demands

私たちの要求事項

Tozen Union requested collective bargaining with Interac in August of 2019. Our demands included full-time employment for our members, shakai hoken, and a wage increase. We have made some progress, including securing full-time employment for one of our part time members. Interac, however, refuses to enroll our members in Shakai Hoken or make any wage concession.

2019年8月に団体交渉を申し入れました。組合員のフルタイムへの転換、社会保険の加入、並びに賃金上げ等を要求しました。その中でも、パートタイムであった組合員のフルタイム転換など、いくつかの要求で進歩がありました。ただし、インタラックは、社会保険に加入させなかった組合員の加入を認めず、賃金上げに関する提案がありません。

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the union demanded health and safety measures such as the providing face masks. Interac instructs their ALTs to wear masks at all times when at school. Last year, management said they were working on a proposal regarding masks, but nothing came of it. We are still waiting.

なお、コロナ禍への対応について、東ゼン労組は、マスクの提供などの安全衛生の対策を要求しました。インタラックは、ALTが校内にいる場合、常にマスクを着用するよう指示しています。昨年、経営側は、マスクに関する提案に取り組んでいたと言いましたが、現在にいたるまで、提案はありません。私たちは、現在も待ち続けています。

The Union has demanded paid leave for employees who get sick with covid-19. Interac has refused.

さらに、東ゼン労組は、組合員が新型コロナウイルスの感染が確認された従業員に対して、2週間の特別有給休暇を要求しましたが、インタラックはこの要求を認めていません。

Interac has a responsibility to take care of the people who work for them. For years our members have been paid low wages, yet they need to provide their own personal protective equipment during this pandemic. On top of that, most of our members are not enrolled in Shakai Hoken. This has left them financially distressed and vulnerable.

インタラックには、従業員の安全性を確保する責任があります。長年、組合員は、低い賃金を支払われていますが、コロナ禍において、自らでマスクを用意しなければなりません。それに加え、組合員の過半数が未だに社会保険に加入していません。この状況下で、組合員は生活困難、そして社会的弱者となりました。

 

Interac’s Broken Wage System

インタラックの破綻した賃金制度

Full-time ALTs cannot live comfortably on an Interac salary. All our members have to hold a second job just to pay the bills, including city tax, and non-employee health insurance and pension premiums.

インタラックのフルタイムALTは、インタラックからの賃金のみで快適な生活を送るということはできません。住民税、国民健康保険料、国民年金等を支払う為に、すべての組合員が他の仕事しなければなりません。

ALT wages remain low no matter how long our members work at Interac. An emergency would cause our members financial crisis. Living costs increase as we grow older. Interac ALTs want to feel secure in their jobs and incomes.

インタラックALTの賃金は、どんなに長期間働いていようが低賃金のままです。緊急事態が発生した場合、組合員は経済困難に陥ってしまいます。年齢を重ねるごとに生活費も高くなります。インタラックALTは、安定した雇用、適正な賃金を求めています。

Why doesn’t Interac do something to fix this? ALT dispatch companies bid against each other to win contracts with boards of education and schools. This results in a race to the bottom. Dispatch ALTs make less than their direct-hire counterparts. Non-enrollment in Shakai Hoken runs rampant throughout the dispatch ALT industry. Tozen Union would be more than happy to work with Interac on reforming this system.

なぜインタラックは、この問題に対処しないのでしょうか。ALT派遣会社の多くが、教育委員会又は学校との契約を勝ち取るために競い合っています。その結果、底辺への競争になります。直接雇用のALTと比べ、派遣会社のALTの賃金は低く、社会保険へ加入率も低いです。東ゼン労組は、インタラックと協力し、この制度の改正に取り組むことができるのであれば、それに勝る喜びはありません。

Interac refuses to work with Tozen Union. During bargaining, we learned that Interac Kanto South, the company that employs our members, booked healthy profits in 2020. Interac has enough money to provide members with a badly needed pay hike. Interac is prioritizing profit over the well being of its employees.

しかし、インタラックは、東ゼン労組と協力する姿勢を見せません。団体交渉の際に、組合員を雇用している株式会社インタラック南が2020年度にかなりの利益を得ていることを知りました。インタラックは、組合員が強く求めている賃上げを実現できるほどのお金を持っています。こうした状況を見る限り、インタラックは従業員の生活よりも、利益を優先していることが見受けられます。

 

Our Strike 

私たちのストライキ

Our members enjoy working for Interac. They care about their schools and their students. Unfortunately, the company has abandoned its responsibilities for the health and safety of our members. Interac has made no pay concession after two years of talks. The union has done its best to avoid a labor dispute. With no options left, we have decided to exercise our right to strike.

東ゼン労組の組合員は、楽しんでインタラックで仕事をしており、学校及び学生のことをいつも気に掛けています。ただ非常に残念なことには、経営側は、組合員の安全衛生の保護責任を放棄しているということです。2年間の交渉で、賃金に関する譲歩もありません。東ゼン労組は、労働紛争を回避を試みましたが、他の選択肢がなく、スト権を行使せざるを得ません。

Tozen Union urges Interac to reconsider and make a good faith offer on wages.

東ゼン労組は、インタラックに対し、賃金に関する再検討および誠実な提案をすることを求めます。

 

We Need You

To bring about real, systemic change we need Interac employees (ALTs and Interac office staff, both foreign and Japanese) to join us. With numbers we have power.

本当の実質的かつ組織的な変化を実現するために、インタラックの従業員(ALT、事務スタッフ、外国人、及び日本人)が組合に入るのは当然です。数は力になります。

Interac employs thousands of ALTs dispatched to schools across Japan. We ask the public to take an active interest in the ALTs teaching in your schools and living in your communities.

インタラックは、日本全国で数千人のALTを雇用し、学校へ派遣しています。私たちは、皆の学校へ教えて、皆のコミュニティに住んでいているALTsに積極的に関わるようお願い致します。

We implore members of the schools (principals, teachers, parents) and boards of education to speak up and support our strike. The company is successful; their ALTs are struggling financially. We need to take a stand and fight for fair wages.

私たちは、学校の関係者各位(校長、職員、保護者)及び教育委員会に対し、声を大にし、ストライキを支援するよう懇願します。

For further information please email our case officer, Gerome Rothman: tozen.rothman@gmail.com

お問い合わせは、担当者ジェローム・ロスマン(tozen.rothman@gmail.com)までご連絡下さい。

Bread & Roses: Covid, Not Olympics, Requires Our National Effort

SNA (Tokyo) — I teach a weekly class on social security theory at a nursing college. When I read comments from the aspiring nurses, I can see their passion for alleviating human suffering, as well as for the class, which is gratifying as a teacher.

The Covid pandemic that has spread over the globe over the past year has impacted medical facilities the most. Tokyo recently declared its third state of emergency, as the daily toll of new patients sometimes exceeds 1,000 people. Japan doesn’t restrict people’s movement as in a mandatory lockdown; the state of emergency means only that restaurants and department stores close an hour earlier than usual, and restaurants serve fewer alcoholic beverages.

Read moreBread & Roses: Covid, Not Olympics, Requires Our National Effort

Tozen Union Opposes the Tokyo Olympics

As a labour union we fight for workers’ rights, and worker safety. And the Tokyo Olympics has had numerous counts of worker deaths and injuries, and workers have reported a “culture of fear” that discouraged them from making complaints about working conditions.

Another major reason that we do not support the Olympics is that the world is currently in the midst of a global pandemic. Corona cases in Japan have been constantly rising and dropping, and with no large-scale vaccination in sight, going ahead with the olympics would be an unnecessary risk to all.

Other reasons that we oppose the Tokyo Olympics are:

  • Financial costs
  • Loss of homes
  • Reports of corruption and bribery
  • The militarisation of the police
  • Unsafe temperatures.

フィリピン人家事労働者が抱えている労働問題が記事になりました。 TOZEN mentioned in article about Filipino domestic workers.

Tozen, and our President Okunuki Hifumi, have been mentioned in the following article by Mieko Takenobu about the difficulties that Filipino domestic workers have.

竹信三恵子氏のフィリピン人家事労働者が抱える問題についての記事の中で、東ゼン労組と執行委員長の奥貫妃文についても触れていただきました。

所持金1000円の外国人家政婦たち〜国家戦略特区「家事支援人材制度」の歪み /竹信三恵子

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

東京ウエストインターナショナルスクールでの抗議

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。

初の団体交渉を行った直後の2月19日、TWISは組合員を解雇した。

「私たちは、学校側に要求事項を説明し、素晴らしい団交が行えました。」組合員の一人はこう述べる。
「私たちは経営側に私たちの問題を正直に打ち明け、学校側は私たちに耳を傾けているように思えました。私たちは学校側と共に協力し、労働環境を改善してゆけることを望んでいました。ですが、学校側は私たちが組合を結成したことにより組合員たちを解雇し、私たちは失望しています。組合側は学校に対し解雇撤回に対する締切を3月8日と通知しましたが、学校は解雇撤回を拒否しました。私たちは、この現状を他の人たちにも知ってもらいたいです。有能な講師たちが正当な理由もなく解雇されており、今直面している解雇問題をこれから先も同じことが起こらないよう防ぎたいです。」

TWISTの組合員たちはストライキと抗議活動を行い、TWISが組合に対して何をしているのか、どうして組合が抗議をしているのかを説明するべくビラ配りを行った。ビラには東ゼン労組のウェブサイトのリンク(tokyogeneralunion.org)とTwitterページが書かれている。抗議行動の最中、TWISTの執行委員長であるテイラー・ヒーリーが拡声器を使いこう述べた。
「TWISは、組合員に対して非道徳的で不当な行為をしました。TWISの管理者たちは組合潰しをしようとしています。このような不当な行為はやめさせなければなりません。組合員たちを復職させてください。私たち講師を救いましょう!」
抗議活動の前や最中、経営側は組合員たちに対しストライキとビラ配りを中止するように言い、生徒たちを組合員から遠ざけた。

組合員たちは多くの保護者、非組合員の従業員、生徒たちから協力的な反応や言葉を貰った。TWIST支部は、組合員講師たちに対する不正を世に伝えられたことや多くの励みのメッセージを受け感銘を受けているが、組合員たちはこの問題は長期戦になることを予測している。

抗議活動後、TWISは保護者に対し、「学校は何事にも誠実に対応をしており、今後も諸々な課題に関して真摯に向き合い、解決していく所存です。」というメールを送った。
TWISは現在においても、組合からの団体交渉申し入れを先延ばししており、要求事項に対する文書での回答すら付与していない。抗議の翌日、TWISの経営側は全従業員に対しメールを送ったが、その内容は明らかに抗議活動に参加していない従業員に向けたものであった。そのメールは、講師たちに感謝の意を込めてタピオカティーを無料で配るというものであった。
東京ウエストインターナショナルスクールは、職を失い路頭に迷う講師たちの問題を、タピオカティーで解決できると思っているのだろうか。
組合側は、東京ウエストインターナショナルスクールに対し、今すぐ組合員たちの解雇を撤回し、組合と交渉することを求めている。

TWIST支部の要求事項や詳細はこちら:https://tokyogeneralunion.org/twist/

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 (tokyogeneralunion.org) 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: https://tokyogeneralunion.org/twist/

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 tozen.rothman@gmail.com