Court rules English language school Nova billed student illegally

English language conversation school operator Nova Co. illegally billed a student when it refused to refund her the full price she had paid for classes she didn’t take, the Kyoto District Court ruled. Presiding Judge Mizuho Ebi ordered Nova to pay the student the 176,672 yen she had sought when suing the company.

Settling labor disputes promptly

In April, Japan will introduce an “industrial tribunal system” to settle individual labor disputes, such as those involving dismissals, working conditions and reassignments. The purpose of this system is to settle disputes expeditiously by limiting the number of trial sessions to no more than three.

The number of disputes involving labor relations has increased markedly in recent years, reflecting the prolonged business slump. In fiscal 2004, labor-dispute “counseling corners” throughout the country, including prefectural labor relations bureaus, received 820,000 complaints and inquiries. Of these, 160,000 cases involved individual labor disputes. Both numbers represent more than three times the figures for fiscal 2001.

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Kosei Gakuen Girls High School Protest

Many thanks to Nambu members who made it all the way out to Chitosekarasuyama at 7:40am on Christmas Eve to protest the non-renewal of a member at Kosei Gakuen Girls High School. The high school has only one entrance, which made it very easy to hand out leaflets to the students as they arrived. The student population is about 500, and we handed out over 400 leaflets, so the majority of the girls, and their parents, will now be aware of the administration’s arbitrary approach to hiring and firing.

Begunto Trick-or-Treats with Berlitz in Omiya

Flash Demo at Berlitz Omiya Branch

Teachers Disciplined For Trivial Reasons

The disrequest system at Berlitz is just one example of threats to job security faced by teachers in the eikaiwa industry. HR representatives claim that a pattern of complaints concerning any particular instructor can lead to discipline, and that six to eight official disrequests over a period of two years is enough to constitute a pattern.

Given that teachers may meet hundreds of students and teach thousands of lessons over the period of a year, added to the fact that complaints can be based on anything from the teacher?s facial expression (?she didn?t smile?) to completely subjective judgements (?we weren?t a good match?), the unfairness of this standard is immediately apparent.

The union cannot allow teachers to face discipline, and potential threats to their livelihood, based on such standards. BEGUNTO will continue to fight for job security both at Berlitz, and throughout the industry.

McDonald’s to pay millions in unpaid overtime

The decision earlier this week by McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan) to make up for inadequate overtime wages and nonscheduled cash earnings owed to nearly 130,000 part-time and regular-payroll workers has sent a shock wave through industries heavily dependent on employees paid by the hour.

A Tokyo-based managers’ union that has also received complaints about McDonald’s said the nonexistence of a union is one factor behind the problems with part-time workers’ pay.