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.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration crafted a joint statement Tuesday with leaders of business organizations and labor unions, aiming to bolster the economy through wage growth.
At a trilateral meeting, Abe also urged large manufacturers, which have benefited from the yen’s slide, to trade with their subcontracting companies at higher prices to allow the effects of his “Abenomics” policy mix to trickle down to smaller firms and local economies.
NAGOYA – The federation of labor unions at Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday it plans to make a unified demand for a pay-scale hike of at least ¥6,000 per month during the spring wage talks this year.It will be the Federation of All Toyota Workers’ Union’s biggest request since 2002, when comparable figures were first kept.
The regular monthly wage for workers in Japan eked out a 0.3 percent gain in January from a year earlier to an average 261,074 yen, bouncing back for the first time in 13 months amid pay raises in the welfare, medical and manufacturing sectors, which have relatively large workforces, the government said Tuesday.
The base wage inched up 0.3 percent to 242,642 yen, while overtime pay rose 1.2 percent to 18,432 yen, according to the monthly survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.
The overall monthly wage, including bonuses and other irregular pay, stayed the same at 273,318 yen, with irregular pay shrinking an average 5.3 percent, it said.
By industry, regular wages at manufacturers grew 1.1 percent to 294,428 yen, while those in the medical and welfare industries gained 1.7 percent to 251,367 yen.
Overtime working hours in the manufacturing sector, seen as a key indicator of overall economic conditions, increased 1.5 percent to 13.3 hours for the fifth straight monthly rise.
The ratio of nonregular workers in the labor force in 2011 hit a record average high of 35.2 percent, excluding [Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima] the three prefectures severely affected by the March quake and tsunami, up 0.8 point from 2010, according to data compiled by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.
The average for the year hit a record for the second straight year, the ministry said Monday.
The rise appears to have stemmed from the growing tendency of firms to hire fewer young people as regular workers and rehire veteran workers on a contract basis after their retirement.
By age bracket, the ratio of nonregular workers came to a record 32.6 percent among people aged between 15 and 34, while that among workers aged 55 and over was 51.5 percent, also an all-time high, the ministry said.
Nonregular workers aged between 15 and 34 numbered 1.7 million, up 20,000, it said.
The government’s rank-and-file employees received on average of about 617,100 yen in winter bonuses, up 4.1 percent from a year earlier, as the Democratic Party of Japan-led government failed to make deep cuts in wages.
The average bonus for a government employee is equivalent to 2.02 months pay, which is some 1,900 yen higher than if a 0.23 percent pay cut had been implemented. The authority’s proposal is designed to make up for the gap with pay from the private sector.
Author Karin Amamiya gives her views on the OWS movement in the monthly media magazine Tsukuru (December) and finds many similarities between Japan and the U.S. As opposed to a U.S. poverty rate of 15.1 percent, Japan’s is over 16 percent. The number of welfare recipients in Japan has shot past 2 million, and percentage of those in the work force holding nonregular jobs is at its highest level ever — 38.7 percent.
Last Thursday, a five-page article in Shukan Bunshun (Dec. 8) gave one of the gloomiest indications yet that the prolonged recession has had a pronounced effect on the incomes of Japan’s wage earners.
According to business consultant Masao Kitami, during 1997-2007, total wages declined by ¥20 trillion. “When people say Japan is becoming a society with a widening income gap,” he writes, “I tell them, we’ve descended into a ‘low-wage society.'”
Based on surveys of major corporations belonging to Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation), Kitami provides the latest data showing significant drops in wages between 2007-2010. The declines in the greater Tokyo region — where workers typically receive the highest remuneration in Japan — have been particularly steep. For males in their 50s, for example, the mean annual compensation dropped from ¥5.58 million in 2007 to ¥4.81 million in 2010. After withholdings, monthly take-home pay by younger salaried workers may be less than ¥200,000.
Kitami warns that once the annual incomes of males in their 50s living in Japan’s three main urban areas plummets below ¥5 million, the current social welfare model, based on a nuclear family composed of husband, wife and two children, is in danger of collapse.
Seventy-four percent of fixed-contract workers such as part-time and temporary employees earned less than 2 million yen a year, according to a recent survey, up 16.7 percentage points from the last survey in 2009, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Sept. 14.
Of those fixed contract workers who performed the same jobs as permanent employees, 60.3 percent made less than 2 million yen, up sharply from 40.7 percent, reflecting the aggravated labor market
While 60.3 percent of fixed contract workers doing the same jobs and shouldering the same responsibilities as permanent employees settle for an annual income of below 2 million yen, 43.5 percent of contract workers utilizing more advanced skills than permanent employees also earned less than 2 million yen annually, up from 32.1 percent.
The survey also found that 76.5 percent of contract workers engaged in the same type of jobs also made less than 2 million a year, up from 62.0 percent.
By type of employment, contract workers accounted for 47.2 percent, up from 38.6 percent in the previous survey, and temporary workers totaled 56.7 percent, up from 45.7 percent.
Asked to cite up to three reasons for becoming fixed-contract workers, 43.6 percent of contract employees and 43.1 percent of fixed-term workers said they could not find regular jobs.