In March, April and May 2020, Shane Corp. took the decision to close schools in response to the novel coronavirus and the declaration of a state of emergency in Japan.
Under Japanese law and in line with social norms, companies across the country have been furloughing their employees and paying an allowance (kyugyou teate), or keeping their employees busy by implementing work from home policies.
Shane Corp. decided on an entirely different approach, and has not furloughed workers or had them work from home. Instead, Shane Corp. have paid an advance, and expects the workers to either pay back the wages received, or work unpaid overtime. In effect, Shane staff were paid nothing for the closures. The company took a position to change working hours and designated holidays without the consent of the workers. This unilateral imposition is most probably illegal.
The number of members in the Shane Workers Union continues to surge as many staff have finally lost patience, and are increasingly frustrated at what they see as poor treatment.
It is the position of SWU that Shane Corp. pay 100% furlough allowance for the school closures, without any obligation to pay back or work back the money. We are prepared to volunteer to work overtime as long as it’s paid as overtime.
We hope to negotiate a sensible outcome that is fair to the staff and allows the customers to make up the lessons they missed.