Preschool* Proprietor Pearson KK flees union, labor commission, and accountability
*Hanegi International Pre-School and Tsukuba International Nursery School
[Tokyo, June 12, 2020] Last December, Principal Hirokazu Nakamura informed parents and teachers that Hanegi International Pre-School (in Shimokitazawa) would close on February 16, 2020. In other words, teachers’ jobs would be gone in two months.
“I was gobsmacked,” says Adam S, a Tozen Union member fighting to get his job back. “I had no idea the school was having any problems. Things were just humming along, and then suddenly this!”
Tozen Union sought collective bargaining (CB) with Pearson KK, the company that owns Hanegi International Pre-School and runs Tsukuba International Nursury School. Nakamura ignored countless union faxes, emails, and phone calls trying to set up the CB session to negotiate Adam’s return. Pearson’s refusal violates the teachers’ and the union’s constitutional rights.
When Tozen sued Pearson in the Tokyo Labor Commission, the company wouldn’t take the labor commission’s phone calls. Nakamura refuses to face his employees and even his government.
Then, the Covid-19 crisis arrived. “They turned us out into the street like garbage,” Adam added. “Used us and threw us out into this horrible pandemic. There’s no work.”
Maybe the company simply disappeared? Nope. 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. Pearson appears to be doing brisk business.
Without a defendant, the labor commission will issue a ruling in October 2020. Tozen Union will not give up the fight to bring burakku kigyo Pearson KK to the table, pay Adam S. his back wages, and take responsibility for its anti-social behavior during this terrible pandemic.
Tozen Union Senior Organizer Gerome Rothman