Tozen Union member sues French School in Tokyo.
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Le 9 mai 2021, Amjid Alam, membre du syndicat Tozen, a engagé des poursuites contre le Lycée Français International de Tokyo, une école gérée par l’AEFE, au motif de non paiement de salaire d’environ 1 million de yens.
Wednesday, May 26, the Tokyo Labor Relations Commission ordered Oberlin University to hold collective bargaining with Tozen Union. Oberlin University had refused negotiations since October 2019, demanding the union exclude rank and file members. The university had also insisted on bargaining in Japanese even though the day to day language of labor relations at the workplace is English.
The union demanded collective bargaining after Oberlin University announced it would outsource classes to a private contractor, threatening the job and income security of our members. Oberlin claimed the outsourcing was not a legitimate topic for union negotiations, a claim firmly rejected by the commission.
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.
SNA (Tokyo) — I teach a weekly class on social security theory at a nursing college. When I read comments from the aspiring nurses, I can see their passion for alleviating human suffering, as well as for the class, which is gratifying as a teacher.
The Covid pandemic that has spread over the globe over the past year has impacted medical facilities the most. Tokyo recently declared its third state of emergency, as the daily toll of new patients sometimes exceeds 1,000 people. Japan doesn’t restrict people’s movement as in a mandatory lockdown; the state of emergency means only that restaurants and department stores close an hour earlier than usual, and restaurants serve fewer alcoholic beverages.
As a labour union we fight for workers’ rights, and worker safety. And the Tokyo Olympics has had numerous counts of worker deaths and injuries, and workers have reported a “culture of fear” that discouraged them from making complaints about working conditions.
Another major reason that we do not support the Olympics is that the world is currently in the midst of a global pandemic. Corona cases in Japan have been constantly rising and dropping, and with no large-scale vaccination in sight, going ahead with the olympics would be an unnecessary risk to all.
Other reasons that we oppose the Tokyo Olympics are:
- Financial costs
- Loss of homes
- Reports of corruption and bribery
- The militarisation of the police
- Unsafe temperatures.
Tozen, and our President Okunuki Hifumi, have been mentioned in the following article by Mieko Takenobu about the difficulties that Filipino domestic workers have.
SNA (Tokyo) — “Japan is safer than other countries; the Japanese are kind; the streets are clean; and it’s easy to live here.” I hear foreigners say these things. But I also hear it from Japanese who have never lived abroad. The mainstream media’s Nippon Sugoi! campaign is working, perhaps, but it’s not far off from the nation’s general reputation. But read on: The current reality may blow your image of my country to smithereens. Can such a thing be happening in Japan in 2021?
SNA (Tokyo) — A Japanese court overturned a welfare reduction for the first time ever on February 22, 2021. The Osaka District Court ruled against the government’s 2013 public assistance reduction of ¥67 billion (US$632 million), marking the first court win for the Inochi no Toride litigation campaign, involving more than 1,000 plaintiffs in 29 prefectures around Japan.
Attorney Tetsuro Kokubo, deputy head of the defense team, said, “This is the first time in my long career as a lawyer that I cried when I heard the verdict.” The comment poignantly conveys the challenges of fighting state power.
We don’t need to respond to you.
The Tokyo Board of Education told Tozen Union they will not meet its ALT union for collective bargaining (CB). They also refused to respond in writing to the union’s request to negotiate.
Tozen Union previously enjoyed productive relationship with the school board, including talks last year. Today, the union dropped by on routine business, filing a request for bargaining and informing management of two new union members.
Two board representatives said they wouldn’t take the document because a change in the law had stripped direct-hire ALTs of their trade union rights. They refused even to put their refusal in writing and tried to force the union to take the documents back.
“We knew about changes in the law but also understood that boards of education across the country still negotiate and sign agreements with labor unions,” said ALT organizer Gerome Rothman. “We were surprised a school board would hide behind an unconstitutional law and treat their employees like strangers.”
The union refused to take the documents back and demanded an official written response by 5pm, next Thursday August 6.
“Our union has demands to protect the safety of ALTs working at schools during this pandemic. Board officials interrupted me when I explained the demands, saying ‘we don’t have to talk to you.’”