Shane Workers Union’s recent strikes

You might have thought the Shane Workers Union (SWU) had gone quiet, or weren’t doing much over the lockdown, but the members were all quite active. Meetings went from a monthly thing to an almost weekly activity, and the fire in the members hearts was burning and growing.

The members were angry at Shane’s lack of decent guidance during the pandemic and angry at management’s refusal of collective bargaining(CB). The anger increased further when – after two months of refusal – management eventually met the union for CB on 15th June 2020, and offered little in the way of negotiation. The company even claimed that they didn’t even know the legal classification of the pay they gave us during the April and May lockdown.

Shane had decided that during the lockdown they would pay the workers 100% of their salary (woohoo!) as an advance (boo!) on future work. This goes against Article 17 of the Labour Standards Act, “Pay shall not be made for advanced work” and against the government’s appeals to employers to pay workers a full furlough. The government is providing financial assistance to employers to cover the costs of furloughing employees.

As the lockdown ended, the company stated that workers would have to make up 30+ days of work for free. To do this, the company unilaterally changed the working calendar with no negotiation with, or consent from, the workers, changing both training days and paid leave days to working days. This meant most workers would lose most of their holidays.

Shane also decided that the company would reclaim wages from the counselors (receptionists), horrifying them and teachers.  The union did what we could to help counselors and want to do more.

As the new working days that were once training days and holidays approached, workers became agitated and angry at the exploitation.
The week leading up to one of the first new working days Saturday, June 27th was filled with discussion and talks of how teachers could stop their work being exploited, and ourthe main response was “withhold your labour.”
This must have hit a certain spot with people, as on Thursday 25th June, 9 people took strike action, with 3 people joining the union through the strike.

These new members and older ones continued to respond to other workers’ frustrations at the company’s changes to the work calendar, by suggesting that they also take action.

The company sent out an “Agreement on Planned Paid Leave Addendum” for workplace representatives to sign on Friday 26th June. This addendum stated that the company would be able to change the paid leave schedule with 7 days notice, and that the company and employees would have to comply with the changes.
It meant that the company wanted the ability to change annual paid leave with no negotiation. Teachers were furious. 

All day Friday, Orren (President of the SWU) and Mizuho (Case Officer for the SWU) received strike proposals, some from old members and some from new recruits.
This culminated in an action on Saturday 27th June 2020 with 23 people striking across the company, including 11 people joining the union through strike action.

On Monday 29th June 2020, the company sent out a message with two options from which each teacher must choose. This circumvented any negotiation with the union:

  1. Go back to the old calendar, but pay back over 40% of your wages, and count the previous pay as a furlough.
  2. Continue with the new calendar, and keep 100% of what has already been paid, however ½ of the make-up days would be cut.

The SWU’s #1 strike demand at the moment is that the company furlough its workers during the lockdown at 100% with no obligation to make up the days.
So we cannot accept either of these offers, and the fight will continue.

In the letter containing the 2 proposed options, the company acknowledges Article 17 and Article 26 of the Labour Standards Act. They mention that Article 17 states that salary cannot be paid in advance, but say nothing else about it. Despite this being the action that Shane took.

Shane misrepresents Article 26 and makes it sound like they would have had to pay only 60% as a furlough, not that they would have had to pay at least 60%. They also claimed that paying 60% might have caused “severe financial difficulties” for staff, never letting slip that 60% is the minimum, or that the government offered Payroll Protection Program assistance to companies that furloughed their employees.

On Tuesday 30th of June, we managed another large strike action of 19 people, with one teacher joining the union through strike action. More schools closed for the day.

Today, on Wednesday 1st of July, we had our 2nd largest strike yet, with 22 people striking, 4 of which joined through striking. Once again, the company was unable to cover all of the strikers.

These large strike actions have doubled the size of the union, and all new members seem very motivated about how they can help the union going forwards to realise the demands.

The hard work of everyone over the past week has been incredible to see. It amazes what people can do when they unite for a cause.

The Shane Workers Union is not anti-company. We are not anti-work. We love our work. We just want to make this a workplace that everyone can be proud of. We look forward to negotiating with the company in the future.

Shane Corporation and Covid 19

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.

シェーン英会話講師の逆転勝訴、司法誌労働判例のトップを飾る。Tozen Teacher’s Victory Over Shane Makes Top Story in Prestigious Judicial Review Rodo Hanrei

東ゼン労組シェーン支部の東京高裁事件が2020年2月15日号の労働判例に掲載されました。労使協定のない計画年休と英会話講師に対する雇止めに関する記事です。
東ゼン労組の組合員であるアダム・クリーブ氏は、ストライキによる欠勤は契約更新拒否の正当な理由にはならないため、雇用契約は当然更新されるべきでした。東京高裁は、シェーンコーポレーションに対し、解雇を撤回し復職させ、2年半分の未払い賃金を支払うよう命令を下した。

Tokyo High Court ruled that an employe cannot desginate paid leave without a written roshi kyotei agreement with the employee rep; and that Shane mangement had no such agreement.

Tozen Union member Adam Cleeve had a reasonable expectation to renew his contract, and his strike related attendance issues cannot be considered when refusing renewal.

The court overturned the dismissal, ordered Shane to take him back to work, and pay 2.5 years of lost wages.

有料記事ですが興味のある方はぜひご覧ください。
The article is behind a paywall, but if you’re interested please check it out.

https://www.e-sanro.net/magazine_jinji/rodohanrei/d20200215.html

シェーン英会話講師、スト権行使拡大

2019年12月21日、シェーン英会話スクールの今年最後のレッスン日、東ゼン労組シェーン労働組合の組合員たちは、雇用の安定、社会保険への加入、全従業員の賃金3%引き上げ等の要求実現に向け、ストライキを起こした。このストライキは、5年間の労働紛争の歴史の中でも最も大きなストライキとなった。

シェーン英会話スクールにとって土曜日というのは一番忙しい曜日であり、講師の出勤人数も週の中では最大であるため、代わりの講師を手配するのが難しい曜日でもある。

カバー講師も含め計13人もの組合員がスト権を行使した。同ストライキにより、数々のスクールでスケジュールの混乱や授業の休講が発生した。

 同組合および支部は、これまでシェーン英会話スクールと数多くの団体交渉や事務折衝を行ってきたが、要求実現に対する進歩は見られないままであったため今回のストライキを決行した。今回のストライキで新たな組合員も一人加わった。

Shane Teachers Expand Strike

The last day before Winter Solstice (Dec. 21), Shane teachers upped the ante in their fight for job security, pension and health insurance, and a 3% pay hike.

In the wake of membership, growth, teachers at a dozen different schools lay down their chalk Saturday. Reports indicate schedule disruptions and cancelled classes.

Tozen Union and its chapter Shane Workers Union negotiated both on and off the record with the English language school but failed to make progress on demands, which included a union page in the Shane teachers bimonthly newsletter.

Management maintained its hard-line, making nothing more than symbolic gestures at concession.

Union teachers determined they had no choice but to muster their courage and strike both on Dec. 18 and then Dec. 21. The latter marked their largest strike in over five years of dispute.

At least one non-member joined the union just to participate in the strike.

英会話講師雇い止め、無効判決=訂正・おわびあり

英会話教室「シェーン英会話スクール」で有期雇用契約の講師だったイギリス人男性(47)が雇い止めにあったのは不当だとして、運営会社を相手取って雇い止めの無効などを求めていた訴訟の判決が9日、東京高裁であった。村上正敏裁判長は雇い止めは無効として、原告の訴えを棄却した一審・東京地裁判決を取り消した。

 原告側の代理人弁護士が9日、厚生労働省で記者会見して明らかにした。判決によると、講師だった男性は2015年3月、1年間の有期雇用契約を運営会社と結び、16年にさらに1年間更新したが、17年に雇い止めとなった。

 訴訟では雇い止めの理由として、男性が約2年間で取得した有給休暇のうちの14日間が欠勤となるかが争われた。

 一審の地裁判決は、14日間は法律で従業員が自由に取得できる休暇分を超えており、男性が会社の許可を得ずに欠勤したとして雇い止めを認めた。

 高裁判決はこれを否定。会社側は従業員が自由に取得できる有給休暇と会社が指定する休暇とを区別していなかったなどとして14日間は欠勤と認められないとした。

 <訂正して、おわびします>

 ▼10日付社会面の「英会話講師雇い止め無効判決」の記事で、「坂本真紀裁判官」とあるのは「村上正敏裁判長」の誤りでした。判決資料の確認が不十分でした。

Reinstated Shane Worker Cleeve

英会話スクール講師が逆転勝訴 会社の有給指定に反対、雇い止めは無効

英会話スクールの男性講師が、不当な雇い止めにあったとして会社に地位確認を求めた訴訟の控訴審判決が10月9日、東京地裁であった。村上正敏裁判長は男性敗訴の1審東京地裁判決を変更し、雇い止めを無効として2017年4月からの未払い賃金(月額25万7800円)の支払いを命じた。

判決後、原告のアダム・クリーブさん(47)が東京・霞が関の厚労省記者クラブで会見を開き、「職場に戻ることを楽しみにしています。長い戦いでしたが、判決で正当ということが再確認できました」と話した。

●年間20日間全ての有給「自由に指定できる」

判決文などによると、アダムさんは2015年3月、「シェーンコーポレーション」(東京都千代田区)の運営する「シェーン英会話スクール」に常勤講師として1年間の有期雇用契約で採用された。雇用契約は1回更新された。2016年11月に育児休暇に先立ち有給休暇を取得したところ、会社側は認めず無許可での欠勤として評価。2017年2月28日に雇い止めされた。

同社の有給休暇は、年間20日間付与されていたが、うち15日間については会社側が取得する時季を指定して一斉に取得する計画年休としていた。5日を超える日数を計画的に付与するためには、労使協定を結ぶ必要がある(労働基準法39条6項)。

しかし、同社は計画年休に関しての労使協定を結んでおらず、アダムさんは「全国一般東京ゼネラルユニオン(東ゼン)」のシェーン労働組合の執行委員長として、東京都労働委員会に申し立てをした。しかし、その審議途中に勤務態度不良を理由に雇い止めを受けた。

高裁判決は、時季指定する15日間の計画年休について、会社が法定年次有給とそれを超える分の有給を区別することなく指定しており、「全体として無効」として、年間20日間全ての有給が自由に指定できると判断。

有給取得は正当な理由のない欠勤であったとは認められず、無断欠勤もストライキの実施によるもので「雇い止めをするかどうかの判断をする際に考慮に入れるのは相当でない」として、「雇い止めは、客観的に合理的な理由を欠き、社会通念上相当であるとは認められない」と判断した。

●「同僚との団結が非常に重要」

代理人の指宿昭一弁護士は「全く当たり前だが、正しい判断をしている」と評価。同じく代理人の加藤桂子弁護士は「労働委員会での審議中に、会社の言い分が正しいことを前提に雇い止めをした。制度に乗っ取って話し合いをしていたのに、あまりに労働者を軽視する態度だった」と話した。

仕事を失いアダムさんは専業主夫となったため、保育園にも入れず、裁判にも長女を連れて臨んだ。アダムさんは「同僚との団結が非常に重要。組合に入ることで、会社側に説明責任を求めることができます」と話した。

●会社側「コメントできない」

シェーンコーポレーションは「担当者が外出しており、コメントできない」と話した。

弁護士ドットコムニュース編集部

High Court Overturns Shane Dismissal of Tozen Union Activist

The Tokyo High Court today (Oct. 9) overturned the lower court’s verdict in a dismissal case against Shane. The eikaiwa language school in 2017 fired Adam Cleeve, president of Tozen’s Shane Workers Union.

Tokyo District Court upheld the ruling and ignored union claims of strike-busting. Shane fired Adam in effect for actively participating in the union’s strike, a point not lost on the court.

Judge Murakami threw out nearly every one of Shane’s assertions, and invalidated their illegal designated paid leave system.

The court ordered Shane to pay all back wages from March 2017 until the verdict and to take Adam back to work. Shane is likely to appeal the Supreme Court, but that court is unlikely even to hear the case.

“I am excited to get back to work and resume our struggle for better working conditions,” Adam told reporters at a press conference after the verdict came down.

Tozen Union senior organizer Louis Carlet said, “A shout-out to all our members at Shane for their solidarity, tenacity and resilience thus far.”

“This is the first step in bringing about real change at Shane. Now is the time to recruit and build a force that can finally boost conditions for all teachers and counselors,” he added.

Tozen Shane Workers’ Union signs Labour Management Agreement with Shane Corp.

Welcoming in the Reiwa era and the new President of Shane, Ishitani Yuya, Shane Workers’ Union are pleased to sign a Labour Management Agreement in what is hoped to be a new phase of improved relations between the Union and the Company.

The agreement guarantees the working conditions of union members and agrees to use Company paperwork when converting to permanent employment.

The agreement also defines a set of rules for collective bargaining which lays the groundwork for improved negotiations and a more timely and forthcoming approach from management.

While some issues remain unresolved, notably the official labour dispute and charges of unfair labour practices against union members, this agreement is a very positive step forward and the Union believes it is only a matter of time before a suitable settlement is negotiated and normal labour-management relations restored.

Court cases shine a light on Japan’s problem with paternity leave

BY 

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Japanese government wants to raise the number of fathers taking paternity leave from 2016’s 3 percent to 13 percent by 2020, but two recent court cases show how hard it can be for some fathers to take their legally mandated paternity leave — especially if difficult pregnancies complicate the situation before the child is born.

On paper, mothers and fathers are entitled to take child care leave (ikuji kyūka) at the same time for up to a year and receive two-thirds salary for the first six months and half salary for the second six months. However, eligibility depends on having worked for your current employer at least a year and expecting to be employed a year later.

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