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 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. 

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 Union is featured in labornetjp.org

広がる国際連帯!〜小さな島国の大労組から大きな島国の小労組への招待状
アイスランドの労働組合「エフリング」から東ゼン労組が正式に招かれる

Read all about it!

Tozen President Hifumi Okunuki

An article in http://www.labornetjp.org features Tozen Union, detailing how our comrades in the Iceland Efling union recently invited us to their country.

Comrades Louis, Cornelia, Gerome and Adam celebrate thhe hanging of the sparkling, new Tozen sign.

Tozen Da! International comrades stand shoulder to shoulder.

Japan Times Editors’ Open Letter

On Nov. 30, 2018, the Executive Editorial Committee at The Japan Times published an Editor’s Note announcing changes in the way the newspaper would describe both the so-called comfort women and wartime forced laborers recruited before and during World War II to work for Japanese companies.

Under the former style, the comfort women were described as “women who were forced to provide sex for Japanese troops before and during World War II.” Under the new style, they were to be referred to as “women who worked in wartime brothels, including those who did so against their will, to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.”

Read moreJapan Times Editors’ Open Letter

Tozen Union Scores Paid Leave Win Over JCFL

Tozen Union members Todd, Tim, and Mark won a crucial court victory Friday over Japan College of Foreign Languages (Bunsai Gakuen). The school had denied paid leave to the teachers who work on zero-hour contracts, claiming that intervals between the one-semester contracts disrupt the continuity of their employment and therefore preclude any right to paid leave.

Tokyo District Court ruled that their employment is effectively continuous enough to claim the legal minimum allotment of paid holidays. The court ordered JCFL to pay for the paid leave already taken, plus interest, and to put up 1% of the plaintiffs’ legal costs.

Management has taken a hard line against Tozen Union and JCFL Workers’ Union in collective bargaining and is expected to appeal to Tokyo High Court. The union members lost a claim that the school’s refusal to give a copy of its work rules constituted power harassment.

東ゼン労組JCFL(日本外国語専門学校)支部組合員であるトッド、ティム、マークは、学校法人文際学園 日本外国語専門学校(JCFL)を相手に、自らの有給休暇の権利を求め、裁判の場で闘ってきましたが、2018112日、東京地方裁判所は、原告勝訴の判決を下しました。なお、本件では、組合員に対して就業規則の付与を拒絶し、その場で書き写すことのみ許可するという対応がパワーハラスメントであるという主張もしましたが、こちらは認められませんでした。

 

学校法人文際学園は、講師の契約を1セメスター=5か月と設定し、契約と契約の間の期間を2か月空けることにより、契約は継続性を持たず、したがって、すべての講師には有給休暇の権利は一切発生しないという扱いをしてきました。16年勤続の組合員も、これまで有給は「ゼロ」だったのです。本判決では、たとえ契約と契約との間に2か月のインターバルがあったとしても、契約の継続性は認められると判断したのであり、大変重要な内容を含んでいます。同じような働き方をしている人たちにも、大きな影響を及ぼすものと思われます。

 

学園はこれまでと同様、控訴して徹底抗戦するでしょう。私たちも、団結の力を緩めることなく、これからも組合を挙げて闘い続けてまいります。

 

引き続き、みなさまの心強いご支援、ご指導を、どうぞ宜しくお願い申し上げます。