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.

Court cases shine a light on Japan’s problem with paternity leave

BY 

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Japanese government wants to raise the number of fathers taking paternity leave from 2016’s 3 percent to 13 percent by 2020, but two recent court cases show how hard it can be for some fathers to take their legally mandated paternity leave — especially if difficult pregnancies complicate the situation before the child is born.

On paper, mothers and fathers are entitled to take child care leave (ikuji kyūka) at the same time for up to a year and receive two-thirds salary for the first six months and half salary for the second six months. However, eligibility depends on having worked for your current employer at least a year and expecting to be employed a year later.

Read moreCourt cases shine a light on Japan’s problem with paternity leave

Shane and Union busting.

Shane Workers Union (SWU) started in 2012.
SWU is currently negotiating for job security, better pay and health insurance (for those who want it).
In 2014, Shane management unfairly dismissed a member of SWU for leaving the workplace during his break time. In solidarity, the members voted and declared a strike after attempts to resolve the matter in collective bargaining failed. Following the first strike action in autumn 2014, two part time members had their work withdrawn and other members reported harassment by management.

Read moreShane and Union busting.

Shane Eikaiwa Issues

Shane Eikaiwa Issues
シェーン英会話の問題

  • Are you unsatisfied with the relationship between teachers and Japanese school staff?
  • Are school counsellors truthful to you about student feedback or do they obstruct you by making inept “improvement suggestions”?
  • Does your school counsellor assign you very heavy schedules with only short breaks?
  • Are you pressured to cover days at the last minute?
  • The schedule for the next day can be changed only as late as 6 p.m the day before. Does your counsellor call you late into the night?
  • Are you treated with respect from your manager?
  • Do you have a problem with cover days?
  • Do you have a problem with additional training days?
  • Are you concerned that teacher representative only meets management twice a year and that meeting minutes are rarely seen by teachers?
  • Do you want to be enrolled in Shakai Hoken?
  • Are your troubled by the increase in insurance premiums to Interglobal from 7,000 yen to 8,000 yen a month which doesn’t cover dental insurance or hospitalisation?
  • Are you upset that teachers are only considered to be working teaching time, not the actual time in school?

Improve your working conditions at Shane by contacting us today: info@tokyogeneralunion.org

Shane Teachers Begin Tozen Strike Action

Several teachers at Shane laid down their white board markers on Tuesday to demand the reinstatement of an unfairly dismissed union member and to demand job security.

The English language school illegally fired a teacher for leaving the school during a break. In Japan employees are 100% free during breaks.

Shane also forces teachers through the humiliation and insecurity of one-year revolving contracts. Tozen Union Shane Workers Union is fighting for several demands, among them ordinary permanent employment.

We are experiencing union growth at Shane and look forward to having enough members to make striking even more effective. We also reach out to Shane administrative staff to join forces.

Cram school buys out Shane English School

Cram school operator Eikoh Inc. said Friday it has acquired Shane English School to strengthen its English-language education for elementary school children ahead of the planned compulsory teaching of the language for fifth- and sixth-graders.

Eikoh, based in the Kanto region, didn’t disclose how much it paid for the acquisition of shares in the four operating companies that run the English school chain, which mainly operates in the Tokyo metropolitan area. [Other reports claim that around the purchase was for approximately 1 billion yen, or $12 million dollars, a similar amount as Eikoh paid for Nellie’s and Shane Language Services in early October 2010, both of which were also owned by Saxoncourt.]

Representatives of both Eikoh and Shane English School said the acquisition won’t involve personnel cuts or other drastic changes in operations.

Shane English School, a British English school owned by Saxoncourt Holdings, Ltd. based in the British Virgin Islands, operates 199 branches across the Kanto region, of which 46 are franchised.

[Eikoh Inc. business management division representative Hiroyuki ] Otsubo said Eikoh has no plans to change the number of teachers working for Shane English School and its roughly 20,000 students will continue receiving the same services.

Eikoh operates 380 cram schools and has 67,000 students. A press release from Eikoh said that in the Tokyo area, Shane already holds 60 percent of its classes in the same location as classes hosted by Eikoh.

Takehiko Kikuchi, a PR representative for Shane English School, said company employees and teachers received the news calmly.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20101120a2.html