置いてけぼりの夏の真ん中 ー2021盛夏、コロナとオリンピックの渦のなかでー Midsummer 2021 – Left to be sucked into the corona-Olympic vortex

奥貫妃文の詩。
A poem by Hifumi Okunuki.
(English is below the Japanese.)

いまは、いったいいつなんだろう。
ここは、いったいどこなんだろう。

東京都新宿区、奥神楽坂の我が家から歩いて3分。
中国人のジャンさんが営む中華料理レストランがあった。
私と夫は頻繁に通っては、裏メニュー「黒酢きゅうり」を頼んでいた。
2021年8月の現在、その店は、もうない。
夜遅くまで客足が絶えず、楽し気な声で満ちていた店は、真っ暗なまま。
がらんどうになった店の入口は、落ち葉の吹き溜まりになっている。
壁には「テナント募集」の張り紙。それもすっかり色褪せ、
今にもはがれそうにカサカサ、カサカサ、と音を立てている。
新しい賃借人が入るのは、いつのことになるだろうか。

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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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Shame on Shane – Forty-one Shane workers strike for full corona pay

Few corporations paid full kyugyo te-ate furlough allowance during the emergency shutdown.
Shane Eikaiwa (Shane Corp.), however, paid its teachers the full allowance during April and May. At first glance, the company apparently showed respect to its workers, a company anybody would be proud to work at.

But this pretty picture has turned ugly, with management deducting wages without workers’ consent and trying to get them to work overtime for free.

The number of members of the Tozen Union Shane Workers Union has tripled from just 20 a month ago on June 24, to 71 today.
Today, 41 members walked out, the biggest strike in the history of Tozen Union’s Shane chapter and even in the history of Tozen Union.

We heard of many workplace problems that school counselors faced, but they were reluctant to stand up, organize and fight back. But counselors have joined the union and have now struck. Being the first to step forward is tough, yet they refused to bow to the pressure and took the bold and daring step of standing up.

Shane Eikaiwa presented instructors with two options in late June.

Option 1 was to maintain the same work schedule they had before the state of emergency declaration with no need to provide make-up classes on their days off. But they would get about half their upcoming pay deducted.

Option 2 was to keep all the wages they received during the closure, but then be required to do make-up classes for free to offset those wages. In effect, this means that the money paid during closure was an advance payment for future work.

Option 1 violates a principle in Article 24 that wages must be paid in full and cannot be deducted without the employee’s agreement; and Option 2 violates Article 17 of the Labor Standards Act, which stipulates Employers cannot pay an advance as a loan on condition that those wages will be offset by future labor.

Astonishingly, Shane Eikaiwa told teachers that if they refused to choose either option, they would automatically get stuck with Option 1. Employees end up being strong-armed into choosing one of these two options.

The members of Tozen Union’s Shane local rejected both options. Many members reran employee rep elections at their schools and told management they refuse and reject any deduction from their wages.
Management continues to refuse to conclude a rodo kyoyaku collective bargaining agreement over corona wages and work schedules.

Today, school counselors and instructors – the workers at Shane Eikaiwa stood up and prosecuted a major strike.

Recently, Yahoo News ran a piece on Shane Eikaiwa by well-known journalist and commentator Haruki Konno. The article was retweeted over 700 times, including by Shane students as well as those who want to take action to change things for instructors.

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/byline/konnoharuki/20200707-00187003/
Outraged teachers strike after Shane says corona furlough pay was a ‘loan’

Countless unresolved issues between Shane Eikaiwa and the union remain, but what we must fight now is what is right in front of us – the next pay day on August 15.

Bread & Roses: Worker Rights in the Age of Coronavirus

SNA (Tokyo) — Last Friday, the Covid-19 global pandemic passed the horrifying milestone of one million infections and 50,000 fatalities worldwide. There have, as of this writing, been 4,592 confirmed cases and 106 deaths in Japan. Graphs of new cases and deaths trace the left half of steep parabolas as the world’s nations fail to flatten the curve. The global catastrophe and its grim toll traps workers between the closing jaws of infection risk and dire economic straits. As US commentator Krystal Ball noted, “the working class has been shoved into the front lines of this crisis.”

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