Issues currently on the table
-Management closed the previous Berlitz Pension plan, saying pension laws had changed, and employees had to sign up for the Benesse pension, which pays lower. In order to qualify to get on, teachers must teach 198 for one month. In order to stay on this plan, teachers must work 176 units in one month once every three months. (If a 40/40 contract teacher only teaches within their contract, they’d teach at least 160. On some months there are extra days in the month, which allows many teachers to just stay on.) Otherwise, they are kicked off. Benesse doesn’t kick their other employees off.
-Teachers do work (prep, fill out PEDA cards) in their five minute break, but the company doesn’t pay, or recognize it as work.
A) If it were recognized and paid for, that would add extra paid hours to a workday.
B) If it were at least given credit for being work, it would possibly qualify someone to get on the shakai hoken (insurance) or stay on it.
note: The IS and Staff get one hour for lunch, and their wages clock isn’t stopped the moment they step out to use the rest room.
**Shunto 2011 demand: The company pay for the five minute intervals before and after each scheduled unit of work at instructor’s unit rate. (listed in the ‘demands’ section)
-A Union teacher was fired for a series of disrequests. However, many came precisely after he struck a lesson, which is his legal right. Three disrequests came from when he asked the students to cover their mouths when they coughed on him multiple times during the lesson without covering his mouth. One came from telling a student to do homework. Many of his disrequests were very subjective and vague. For example, “The student didn’t understand something.”
(in dispute in the Tokyo Labor Commission)
-An experienced female teacher was denied reinstatement after she requested an extra few months to finish breast cancer treatment. Under law, she is allowed one year (6 months absence and 6 months cession). There is a policy clause that allows the company to extend the time if need be. The company choose to let the teacher go rather than grant her a few more months for cancer treatment.
(under negotiation in court. Berlitz maintains their stance, yet is currently hiring new teachers )
-Since the Union started, it’s a precedent and established practice that negotiations take place in one main language: English. If someone doesn’t understand English, they provide a translator to translate into English. However, as of 2008 management changed the style of negotiation without negotiating it. Lawyers who spoke only Japanese took over from Management, while and Management says nothing. Their translator will translate the Union’s English words into Japanese, but they refuse to let the translator speak in English. The Union represents workers, many of which don’t understand Japanese.
(under consideration in Tokyo Labor Commission. Part of the definition of bad faith negotiations)
-The Union went on strike to realize the financial demands of base up and bonus. In 2007, and the company issued Union members letters ordering members to stop. Interfering with Union activity or preventing it violates Japanese Labor Law. The Union decided to sue Berlitz in the Labor Commission court, and Berlitz sued the Union in Civil court for ‘damages to the company.’
(currently in court)