Union Exec meeting with MGT November 10, 2014 The changes in lesson time from 40 to 45 minutes

MGT says the change over is a work in progress:

The union exec and Mr. Coke met with MGT in Shinjuku today to discuss the changes in contract they want to do in March 18, 2015.  So far they say it is a work in progress though many feel it is a done deal and MGT expects us to take what they offer – which falls short on the definition of negotiation. Since 2007 we have demanded to have any work in break time recognized as work and to be paid for it. This plan by MGT was unilaterally submitted to the workforce.

MGT can be held accountable for unfair practices in Trade and Labor Law:

We informed management that the way they distributed the information was a violation of Union Trade Law and we will address this with them – one option is to take them to the Labor Commission for negotiating in bad faith by sidestepping the union and informing employees before us as well as unilaterally establishing working conditions that we demanded and were not allowed to negotiate in. MGT was also told that we could sue for lost wages for back pay for the work we have been doing on our breaks and for all lost wages after March 18, 2015. Osaka Berlitz Union “Begun” also formally protested.

What the 45 minute lesson looks like:

MGT offered a few insights to how they see the lessons broken up.

3 minutes of the break and 40 minutes of lesson and 2 minutes of break will equal the new 45 minute lesson.  3+40+2=45

Where the 200 yen “raise” will go:

The 200 yen they say will compensate us for the time we do work in break is also expected to help cover the lost holiday allowance.  40% of the increase is for work in break time and 60% increase for offsetting lost holiday allowance. So your 200 yen raise for PL has to do double duty. Looking at it this way the 200 yen will pay 80 yen to work in break and 120 yen to offset lost earnings in holiday pay.  Sounds good?  5 minutes work in break is 12.5% of your lesson time.  Is 80 yen 12.5% of your pay for a lesson? No. 80 yen is about 2 minutes.

When we asked MGT why they were changing they said  it was to improve communication with staff and also the union demands:  

We asked about back pay for work already done on breaks, MGT told us to pursue it through union negotiations.  OK, we will.

Wages up or Lesson count change:

Almost every contract will have a reduced lesson count, though MGT stated they might leave the PTG 20 alone and raise the monthly salary.

The 11th lesson will be overtime. Anyone with 11 or 12 lessons on a single day will have them taken back to 10.  MGT says you can work one more lesson if you WANT to, but don’t have to.

MGT insists the rest day for PL teachers doesn’t apply and they will insist on paying it if and when you work 7 days in a  row.  What about Contract teachers who have an actual designated rest day and work extra lessons in PL?  They are being treated differently and it is unfair to PL teachers.

New full time contract:

The new contract templates have an additional 10 minutes at beginning and end of the day for you to help the staff with in school work:find data, talk to staff, (open or lock up school-if students leave on time?) fill out forms from staff. According to MGT a big reason why teachers leave is “a lack of communication with staff “so by making full time teachers stay around 10 minutes before their shift and 10 minutes after their shift they will be able to help the full time teachers develop other skills in the LC.  (Brace yourselves, those of you who take the new full time contract cannot go home at a CTL last lesson because you still have to put in those last 10 minutes every day- unless MGT says otherwise.

The new contracts will also take up more lessons (and those earning per lesson will lose out) and not have a completion bonus. In effect the new contract rate will be lower per unit than current 40/40 Instructor gets by about 15% less per contract lesson. There is no completion bonus.

Do we have to sign:

We asked what will happen if teachers refuse to sign.  First off MGT said if a teacher has been working several years there is no reason to see why they wouldn’t be renewed according to MGT Nov. 10, 2014.  So for long term instructors or those who renew a few times you can expect to be automatically renewed.  However, if you want to protest the changes in the contract and demand changes you will need to do so in a protest through the union and maybe even a petition that would include non-union workers.

We asked if we could refuse to take the new conditions because it is a unilateral change in working conditions.  MGT stated the changes would be across the board from March 18, 2015.

New work rules/policies for any changes:

Basically the work rules and policy and procedures will also need to be rewritten again. That means employee representatives will be chosen from each LC.  This happened back in 2005 and 2012.

New Contract – the full time:

The new full time contract will have various templates.  One is a daytime shift from 8:20 to late afternoon with 2 units as breaks.  Another is an early afternoon template from 12:50 to end of day with 2 breaks. The third and forth are the unpopular split with a cluster of 4 or 5 in the morning and or evening of which one unit in each morning and evening must be a break.  Those working on Saturday and Sunday will teach only ten with 2 breaks- but MGT hopes that with the weekends being busy you will want to teach an extra lesson and give up half your lunch break voluntarily.

Benefits qualification due to numbers changes:

As for Shakai Hoken the 198 units to get on will be lowered to 176 so the union asked if the 176 to stay on would correspondingly be reduced to 154 units- it would seem logical as 198 to 176 to get on then 176 to 154 to stay on would seem a proportional adjustment reflecting the weight of the 45 minute lessons.  MGT says they aren’t sure yet…..?

Another issue not mentioned at this meeting is the union demand to prorate the number of days as holidays- it seems strange that to be treated as a regular employee you would need to work on the national holidays that regular workers get just to qualify for National Insurance.  We figure it should be 8 lessons fewer for any holiday but Xmas eve which should be 4 fewer. So for example if the new number is 154 and you don’t get a holiday allowance towards that number then the 154 should be adjusted to 146 to reflect the 8 lessons per day you would usually work. (Currently the company only pays you 6 units per holiday in National Holiday Allowance if you teach 120 -6unit for each holiday.) 176/22days=8 units per day seems to the rule they are working with.

Changes to travel pay:

The travel allowance of 17,000 will be changed to actual pay. For some this is a good thing, for others it is not.  If you live close to your school you will lose out. And if you live far away you can get more pay for actual travel. A long time ago when the government changed the law on basic minimum wage for English teachers it was established at 250,000 yen,

MGT said no to increasing travel pay.  Travel pays have not gone up since 1993 when they were cut from lesson rate. In the meeting MGT wanted to know why they would need to raise the travel rate- their opinion was the work done is the same.  We said we are traveling 12.5% longer in each travel so we should be paid for it. A travel currently is 40 minutes and pay hasn’t been increased in 20 years and for many people the travel is now less than half of their pl rate.  Now there will be an even bigger discrepancy.

Attend the meetings:

I would urge each person to look into attending these town hall meetings at the end of November and early December.  It is in your own best interest.  Show up and show them this means something to you.

If you haven’t yet done so, reserve a seat for the upcoming PAID information sessions

on November 26, 27, 28 and December 1 in Hamamatsucho LC or

on November 25, December 2, 3,and 4 at Shinjuku LC.


You have the right to ask MGT questions if you are unclear about changes in your working conditions.


Applications can be found on the union board or at our website:




Fill it out and submit by email to begunto1@yahoo.com

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