Bread & Roses: Pandemic Drives Women into “Nighttime Work”

On November 16, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced the disciplinary dismissal of a 28-year-old school nurse for moonlighting as a sex worker for more than a year. 

Tokyo officials interrogated her after receiving an anonymous tip about her after-hours work. The primary and middle school nurse said she wanted to save enough money to live on her own in the city. The officials used the word menshoku (removal/dismissal from office) rather than kaiko (dismissal from employment) since she was a local government civil servant. 

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Tozen Union hits streets in record numbers to push for better conditions at Shane, Kanda Gaigo, Interac

Tozen’s historic Ichinichi Kodo All-Day Action fights for job security, higher wages; breaks through factionalism

Dec. 21, 2021. Under the crisp blue skies of Winter Solstice, Tozen Union held its first ever Ichinichi Kodo All-Day Action.

 Teachers at three local chapters of Tozen Union raised their fists and voices in front of each employer, demanding job security, Shakai Hoken health and pension, and a living wage.

 In addition to Tozen’s long-allied independent unions, all three national labor federations (Rengo, Zenroren, and Zenrokyo) joined the action, warming our hearts on this first day of winter.

 Rengo Tokyo provided the sound car for the day.

 Joining Tozen for the fight were: Japan Labour Soviet (Rohyo), General Support Union (GSU, affiliated with NPO Posse), Shutoken Union of University Part-Time Lecturers in Tokyo Area and the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Tobu (Tobu Roso).

 This day in Tozen history represented a pushback against the chronic factionalism of Japan’s labor movement. The faction-transcending unity made us forget the cold and gave management a peek at the kind of solidarity arrayed against them.

 More than 50 Tozen and allied members squeezed into a tight, thin line on a sliver of sidewalk in front of the Shane HQ office. In a large voice, we demanded the English conversation school give us job security and Shakai Hoken.

 Our displeasure at relentless management attacks against workers and the union during this protracted labor dispute burst forth over the speakers of our sound truck. A contingent of Shane members went into the HQ office to submit a written appeal. A manager took it, then flippantly remarked ‘Merry Christmas.’ Our Shane local won’t rest until they win stable working conditions.

 The throng walked a block away to Kanda University of Foreign Studies (KUIS). We demanded the school remove its unilateral and arbitrary 6-year limit on employment and agree to open-ended employment for teachers. These educating every day show pride and passion in inspiring the minds of their students.

 These teachers want to continue to teach beyond the six years, but the university administration asserts that after six years they are no longer capable of creating anything new. Kaiten (rotation) is necessary to keep the education development fresh, management insists. Members angrily shouted that “KUIS teachers are not dried out conveyor belt sushi!”

 The crowd traveled by subway to Ginza, to the headquarters of ALT-dispatcher Interac. We protested the company’s refusal to provide a living way or enroll ALTs in Shakai Hoken. A contingent separated, entered the high-rise office building, and rode the lift to Interac headquarters. There, they tried to hand over a written appeal. Management made them wait for over 20 minutes. The delegation decided to send it later by post; they returned to the lively protest down on street level to give a report to their comrades.

 One university student from GSU recounted how an ALT (assistant language teacher) had helped her learn ‘living English.’ She called on the company to recognize a living wage and said that ALTs are not ‘assistants.’

 We finished with a sprechchor, bringing life to the soul of workers, who know no faction, under the Ginza winter sky in the middle of the big city

 The labor unions and individuals who joined us in solidarity made this historic day possible.

東ゼン労組、労働条件向上を求めシェーン、神田外語大、インタラック前で過去最大規模の抗議

2021/12/21 東ゼン労組1日行動:安心して生活できる労働条件をかけた闘い!

2021年12月21日、冬至の晴れ渡った空の下、東ゼン労組史上初の一日行動をおこなった。

 東ゼン労組の3支部―シェーン英会話、神田外語大学、インタラックで働く教員たちは、各職場の前で、安定した雇用、生活できるだけの賃金の確保、社会保険加入を求め、こぶしを挙げて声を上げた。

 この1日行動には、長きにわたり連帯関係を結んでいる無所属独立系の労組のほか、3つのナショナルセンター(連合、全労連、全労協)に所属する労働組合も揃って参加してくださり、非常に温かくかつ心強い応援をいただいた。

 連合東京、日本労働評議会(労評)、全国一般東京東部労働組合(東部労組)、総合サポートユニオン、首都圏大学非常勤講師組合、それぞれの組合が党派を超えた同じ労働者として、共に怒りの拳を突き上げ、生活できる労働条件を求めて声を上げてくれた。その姿に、冬の寒さを忘れるほど胸が熱くなった。経営者に労働者の団結の力を余すところなく見せつけることができた1日行動となった。

 まずは、英会話学校のシェーン本社前で、50人超が狭い歩道に一列に並び、雇用の安定、社会保険加入、労使紛争の解決を求め声を上げた。経営側の組合員に対する攻撃が後を絶たず、紛争が未解決のまま長期化していることへの不満が噴出した。申入れ団が申入書を手渡しに行ったところ、経営者は「メリークリスマス」と軽く言い放ったということである。それでもシェーン支部は決してあきらめない。安心して働くことができる労働条件を求め続けていく。

 次は、シェーン英会話から100メートル離れたところにある神田外語大学に場所を移した。日々学生の教育のために誇りと情熱をもって仕事に打ち込んでいる教員たちに対して、大学側は無期雇用への転換を認めず、6年間でさようなら、と一方的に雇用を断ち切ろうとしている。教員はみんな、もっともっと働きたいと切望している。そんな教員たちに対して大学側は「6年も働いている教員に新しい教授方法を開発することはできない」と言い捨て、より“新鮮な”教員を採用するのだと言ってはばからない。「私たちは回転すしの干からびた寿司でではない!」と怒りの声を上げた。

 その後、場所を銀座に移し、外国語指導助手(ALT)を派遣する大手であるインタラック前で、生活ができる賃金と社会保険加入を求め声を上げた。申入団は、立派な高層ビルの本社事務所に上がり、申入書を渡そうと試みた。しかし経営側20分以上待たせたうえに、申入書を受け取る勇気がない様子であったため、申入団は仲間が声を上げる社前に戻り、再びアピールを続けた。

 総合サポートユニオンの大学生は、自分の高校時代の英語の先生(ALT)について、「ALTの先生は“助手”ではないと思います。私は、ALTの先生がいたからこそ、生きた英語を学ぶことができました」と語り、ALTの待遇改善に向けて力強いアピールを寄せてくれた。

 最後に、全員でシュプレヒコールをおこない、大都会の銀座の冬空に、党派を超えた労働者の魂の叫びが響き渡った。

 さいごに、今回の東ゼン労組の1日行動に連帯し、参加いただいたすべての労働組合、個人の方々に、心から感謝したい。

Begunto Leafleting Action ベグントのビラ配り

On Saturday 25th September 2021, Tozen’s local, Begunto held a leafleting action in Nihonbashi.

Begunto recently entered into a dispute, and members are fighting for the reinstatement of our member Matt Wiegand.

2021年09月25日(土)、日本橋で東ゼン労組のベグント支部はビラを配った。

最近、ベグント支部は労働紛争に入って、 マット組合員の復職を求めて闘っている。

 

五輪中止オンライン抗議アクション Anti-Olympics Live Stream Candlelit Protest

On Friday 30th July 2021, members of Tozen held a candle-lit online protest calling for the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Bread & Roses: Overhaul Japan’s Immigration System

SNA (Tokyo) — During a May 30 demonstration in front of central Tokyo’s JR Takadanobaba Station, my labor union, Tozen Union, called upon the Japanese government to overhaul its immigration system and to protect the human rights of foreigners.

We persisted despite a heavy downpour, joined by the two younger sisters of Wishma Sandamali, a 33-year-old Sri Lankan woman who died after medical neglect in a Nagoya immigration detention center.

Wayomi Rathnayake called on the Immigration Bureau to release all video, documents, and information related to her sister’s death. Japan’s immigration bureaucracy has a history of opacity and arbitrary treatment of foreigners. We demanded that the government guarantee foreigners’ right to life, regardless of visa status. We must not accept valuing some lives less than others, due to flukes of fate that determine citizenship and residence status.

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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。

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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.

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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.