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.
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.
Wednesday, October 2nd, the Tokyo Labor Commission ruled that language school Shane Corp. committed unfair labor practices in issuing a warning letter to the president of Tozen Union’s Shane Workers Union and in reducing the class load of another member.
The commission also ordered the school to issue an official apology to the union.
An “unfair labor practice” is a violation of the Trade Union Act.
In the same verdict, the commission rejected the union’s other union-busting claims.
Ostensibly, the warning letter was for taking a paid holiday with less than two months notice, but the commission ruled that the real reason was union activity.
Both parties have two weeks to appeal.