June 4, 2012
Recently, management began testing ALTs for drugs in Interac offices with cheap saliva kits that anyone can buy online. We demanded collective bargaining over it to protect our members.
緊急団交申し入れ Emergency Request for CB
Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union (“Tozen”) and Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union Tozen ALTs request emergency collective bargaining. We have heard that you instructed your employees, including union members, to undergo drug testing. The need for drug testing is not accepted for an ordinary employment relationship and drug testing of employees in general is accepted only in extreme circumstances. We strongly oppose your casual testing of employees also in light of recent requirements to protect individual privacy, including the passage of Individual Information Law, We therefore ask for cb with the agenda stated below.
１. 団交の日時・場所・議題 CB Date, Time, Venue, Agenda
場所：貴社内もしくは当組合の事務所 Venue: Company or union office
議題：下記の要求事項について Agenda: Following demands
２. 要求事項 Demands
Company cease drug testing of employees and commit to refraining from the practice in the future.
Company apologize in writing to tested employees.
Company answer the following questions in writing.
Explain the reason and objective of performing the tests.
Was the decision to conduct the tests made by the company autonomously or at the behest of school boards or schools?
Were the tests of ALTs or also other employees of the company? Please give us the number of employees tested by each job type?
Did you make clear to employees that they had the right to accept or refuse the tests?
Explain what clinics conducted the tests and by what method?
What is company’s policy for those who refused the test?
Company conclude a labor-management agreement with the union and local regarding this issue.以上
December 11, 2011
Demands for collective bargaining were submitted today to the offices of Interac/Maxceed/Selti.
Remember that time you asked your boss about Shakai Hoken and you were ignored?
Or that time you asked about the possibility of a pay raise next year and you were brushed off?
Or that time you asked why you only get partial salary during the month of December even though the company gets the full amount from the Board of Education, and you never got a response to the email?
Well, unlike all those other times, a demands issued from a union as part of collective bargaining cannot legally be ignored.
The revolution in the Tokyo area starts now.
Who wants in?
We will be publishing some of our demands non-specific to individuals soon.
October 8, 2011
On October 1st, at an Interac training session in Miyagi, a member of the Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union (aka Tozen) was politely handing out a version of this flyer to the ALTs that were arriving for training. Members of management came outside to tell the union member, who is not employed by Interac, that he could not pass out flyers and had to leave. Our member corrected the managers, telling them that he was perfectly within his legal rights to pass out information such as this flyer and he continued to pass them out to anyone who would take them.
Interac then apparently called the police! When the police arrived, our member corrected them as well; reminding them that he did not, in fact, need a permit to pass out flyers.
Interac gave all of their trainees pizza during lunch, so that effectively kept them from going outside to meet the evil union member (it would not the first time that has happened). Eventually, they did have to let the teachers leave, and our member then passed out some more information to anyone who would take it at that time as well.
Perhaps Interac has something against the dissemination of information?
Perhaps Interac just doesn’t like teachers to know their rights?
Perhaps we will find out in collective bargaining…
August 26, 2010
Cross posted from the General Union.
Let’s all work together for ALTs to be directly hired.
Interac has been found guilty of unfair labour practices by the Osaka Prefectural Labour Commission in July 2010 for refusing to hold collective bargaining with the General Union (full story here).
Osaka prefectural ordinances prevent companies found in violation of Trade Union Law from bidding on public projects. The General Union, along with allied unions from Osaka Union Network and Osaka Zenrokyo have submitted demands to the Governor of Osaka Prefecture, Toru Hashimoto, that Prefectural ordinances be enforced.
As a result, Osaka Prefecture has now informed all divisions of the prefectural government, including the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education, that they may no longer enter into contracts with Interac. Furthermore, Osaka Prefecture has summoned Interac to explain the situation, placing further pressure on the company to obey the Trade Union Law and negotiate.
The union’s victory at the Labour Commission and its subsequent economic impact on Interac will go along way in making sure that not only Interac, but other employers trying to evade their legal obligations, negotiate with the union in the future.
July 5, 2010
Cross-posted from the General Union in Osaka:
5 Jul 2010
Health Checks – They’re mandatory!
Interac ordered to obey the law
Industrial Health & Safety Act
For many westerners, the idea of a state mandated health check smacks of a nanny state, and we are often reluctant to submit to the tests. While not all companies obey this law, the fact remains it is compulsory for all employees to have an annual health check under article 66 of the act.
November 5, 2009
An open letter to the management of Interac (as well as Maxceed and Selnate)
November 5th, 2009
To whom it may concern (including Kevin Salthouse and Denis Cusack),
My name is Erich, and I am an executive of the ALT branch of Tokyo Nambu’s Foreign Workers Caucus. I worked for Interac from September of 2005 until February 2008, under the Osaka branch.
I am writing to clear up some misconceptions about health insurance in Japan that were evident in a couple of PDFs that were circulated from management at the beginning of October 2009.
The two PDFs in question are the “FAQ – Insurance System in Japan” and the one titled “Social Insurance Letter” dated October 1st, 2009. In these PDFs, you tell your ALTs that they are not eligible for Shakai Hoken if they work less than 29.5 hours.
This is not true.
You also tell them that the only alternative is to sign up for Kokumin Kenko Hoken and that they may have to pay up to two years of back enrollment.
The problem is that, since they are eligible for Shakai Hoken, it is the company that will have to pay the back enrollment (up to two years) into Shakai Hoken, after which the employee can be billed for their half of enrollment fees.
Let me give you some background information on how I know this.
September 21, 2009
Last year when I was in the Osaka based General Union, we received an email from an Interac ALT who was rather upset because she had been fired for being pregnant. Martina (name changed) was set to have her contract renewed with her school where she was loved by her students and teachers. Her contract had already been promised to her verbally and her schools and students were looking forward to her return. Then, people in the Yokohama office found out something that they viewed as a major inconvenience to their business, Martina was pregnant and would be giving birth during the middle of the school year.
They told her that in light of her condition, it would be too much trouble for them to find a replacement in the middle of the school term, and had decided to go with someone else who was less…. pregnant.
September 16, 2009
In 2007, I recieved an email from an Interac employee that was interested in being directly hired by his BOE. He had tried in earnest to improve his working conditions through Interac, but they were uninterested in signing him up for Shakai Hoken, unemployment insurance, giving him a raise, etcetera. At the time I was in Osaka, and Iwate (the prefecture north of Tokyo, not the city in Osaka) is quite a long way away from the normal base of operations of Tokyo Nambu, much less Osaka’s General Union Interac Branch. I was not able to meet with him face to face, but I was able to provide him with a lot of information and advice that he was able to use to convince his BOE (Board of Education) that taking the plunge to hire him directly would be in everyone’s best interest. He has now been directly employed since spring of 2008 with no middle-man dispatch company to impede his rights as a worker under Japanese law.
This is his story, in his own words. Enjoy and be inspired. Any other ALTs in Iwate prefecture that want to liberate their BOE from their dispatch company can contact me and I will put you in contact with our friend, “The Abolitionist”.
(NOTE: His experiences and his claims may not match yours exactly. Contracts can have different variables in different parts of the country. They can even be different in the same part of the country, but with different BOEs. If his experience does not match yours exactly, don’t forget to take the possible variations into account.)
From “The Abolitionist” in Iwate Prefecture:
It would be very sad for you, a great ALT, to resign to quitting your job and even leaving Japan, a country you love, because of Interac. Giving that much power to an amoral, impersonal business would indeed be a shame. That’s why I’m writing this. It’s not hopeless. A few years ago I was in this situation but my BOE cut out the middleman and gave me a direct contract. I would like to give you some tips on how to make this happen.
October 27, 2005
October 28, 2005
Nambu and the Nambu Interac Branch held its first ever collective bargaining with Interac management on Friday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 pm.
June 25, 2005
June 25, 2005
Over 15 members showed up Saturday morning for the second Interac demonstration. (more…)