Causes for Concern? [last edit April 3rd, 2012]
-The number of travel periods teachers are given between LCs have been gradually cut over the years. This has been done to reduce the cost to Berlitz. Berlitz stated the reason for this is the improvement of the efficiency of the transportation system. Now, some teachers must run to catch their train or they’ll be late.
-New material, such as books and manuals, shows up in the teachers room. Teachers aren’t always given preparation time to study it, but are expected to be able to use it.
-Teachers rooms aren’t big enough, and lots of space is used up for shelving, storing books and material. Teachers don’t always have space to sit or put their materials.
-The dress code was suddenly “upgraded” (in 2010). On weekends, men have to wear ties, where previously they didn’t. Men and women have to wear jackets, which is an added expense for teachers.
Shunto 2011 demand: Company negotiate with and obtain consent with Begunto before implementing any policy change or implementing any new policy.
- Collective Bargaining is when Union members sit down with Management and discuss and negotiate issues. One day, Management suddenly and without previous notice brought their lawyers who didn’t speak any English. Many Union members can’t understand Japanese. The fact that Management changed the negotiation style suddenly without discussing it is questionably ‘bargaining in bad faith.’ (see “issues” section)
-In 2007, managers got a drop in salary, while some people received bonuses in HQ. HQ stated that not all IS’s got a bonus. The Union feels that all employees should get a bonus.
-In September 2007, Berlitz had a party and teachers who went had to pay to attend, but it was considered work. Three months later, management had a holiday party in Roppongi during work hours, and on top of that, the company paid for them.
-The yearly TPE (Teacher’s Performance Evaluation which determines a salary raise or not) is too subjective.
[edit: 4/3/2012 The new Instructor Performance Evaluation has been developed and will be implemented shortly]
-Berlitz used to give teachers a yearly cost-of-living raise, but this stopped in 1991-92 when Benesse took over Berlitz. Management claimed 1% increase a year for seniority was enough. In 1998, they came out with new performance-based pay contracts, where the teacher’s raises depended on being graded by their performance.
-During the hearings and court sessions (see ‘issues’ section), management constantly comes unprepared and decisions and discussions are constantly delayed until the next meeting, where it happens again. This has been going on for about three years years with no resolution and little progress. The union believes Management has been using stalling tactics to prolong the court case.
-Previously, according to yearly teacher evaluation pay scales, “excellent” gave you 5 pay-level increases, “very good” 4, “good” 3 and “needs improvement” 0. Berlitz blamed it on the bad economy, and shifted everything downward. Now, neither a “good” teacher (who is supposed to be meeting expectations) nor a teacher who “needs improvement” would be getting a salary raise.
-In 2010, Berlitz came out with new policy for contracts calling them “renewable” contracts. “Renewable contracts” may or may not be renewed- the company’s choice at the end of the contract. Previous contracts renewed automatically, ensuring job security. This means that anyone who gets a new contract from May 2010 is not guaranteed an automatic renewal. (Begunto’s stance is against this)
**The policy was made active in May, but the company didn’t notify teachers until October. Many experienced part time teachers who had switched to this contract found themselves with less job security.
Shunto 2011 demand: Company negotiate and obtain consent of Begunto before implementing any policy change or initiating any new policy( -Also under “issues and demands”)
-Teachers don’t get ‘bonuses,’ but in the past have gotten irregular small ‘tokens’ ranging from 30,000 yen to 10,000 yen. Management refrained from using the term ‘bonus’ to avoid setting a precedent. The average Japanese company employee receives yearly or bi-yearly bonuses equal to a month’s value of salary.