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.
March 6, 2011
It is that time of year again! Time for the mad scramble of March when good teachers everywhere are worried if their contracts are going to be renewed or not, otherwise known as the “ALT Shuffle”. Two things you should be sure NOT to do:
1) Do NOT let your employer force you to sign resignation papers! You do not need to sign any such thing. If they do not have work for you, they should give you dismissal papers so that you can claim your unemployment benefits until you find your next job.
2) Do NOT let your employer threaten you into leaving your apartment. It does not matter whether your employer is your guarantor or not, you can pay your landlord directly. Tenant’s rights are strong in Japan, but they are non-existant if you do not claim them.
If you find yourself facing either of these situations, call your local union representative to report the harassment.
If you are not in a union, and would like to fight against these kinds of ill treatment, join a union and help improve the working conditions of Japan.
October 1, 2010
I am glad to hear that the new Interac is “financially stable”. With this financial stability, I can think of no better way to move from “strength to strength” than by improving the working conditions of all of your ALTs. Here are a few suggestions that I personally think would benefit all ALTs:
September 26, 2010
For those of you that did not get the memo, Interac is about to go through some big changes. I have heard two very different announcements on the subject. From Kevin Salthouse, we all have this PDF file stating that Interac will be going through a “new phase of operations” and that this is just a “reorganization”. The General Union in Osaka however, has uncovered more details that point towards a new aquisition and a buyout by Advantage Partners, a company that describes its own business model as “Direct private equity investment via start-up and acquisition”.
It appears that Interac as we know it may be completely taken over and dissolved, although we may not know for sure until October first. Interac recently lost its right to do business with Osaka prefecture BoEs when it was found guilty of an Unfair Labor Practice against the General Union and of interfering in union business. Our members that have sued Interac have also won several court cases, meaning even more financial punishment.
When I originally heard of the name change and the association with bankruptcy, I was a bit skeptical. I thought Interac may have been changing names to avoid paying the damages to union members and as a way to get around the recent ruling that prevents them from doing business in Osaka prefectural BoEs. This certainly would not have been out of character for them; they have for years had a second name, Maxceed, that they used to double-bid BoEs across the nation. They would submit one bid as Interac, and one bid as Maxceed, and shuffle their ALTs between Maxceed/Interac contracts as needed. I was hired as an ALT for Interac in 2005, and was placed in a city where I was expected to lie to the BoE and tell them that my company was called “Maxceed”. The contract between the BoE and the dispatch company said “Maxceed”. My contract with the people in the same office, with the same employees with a different phone number said “Interac”. Also, in the past year, ALTs have complained to us that their time is split between “Maxceed” and “Interac” so that Interac can pretend that the ALT has two part time jobs, instead of a full time job and have an excuse to avoid giving the ALT full time benefits. If Interac is going to be dissolved, these kinds of practices never favored the ALT’s working conditions, and they will not be missed.
Whether Interac will be going fully under or whether things will really just be “reorganized”, my personal concern, shared among my fellow union members, is centered on the stability of employment for the foreign teachers in Japan. I am urging every ALT in Interac/Maxceed/every-other-dispatch-company-in-Japan to band together, unionize and fight back to improve working conditions for yourselves and for the people who will want to come to Japan and teach here in the future. Demand to be directly hired! Every Interac/Maxceed contract I have ever seen has either been
1) illegal according to the The Ministry of Education guidelines concerning proper dispatch methods or
2) has enough clauses in it that violate Labor Standards/Trade Union Law that the whole thing is null and void.
If you unionize and claim your right to be directly hired, the BoEs will not be able to ignore you. I have seen it myself; the when I was in Osaka and a member of the General Union, we forced my BoE to direct hire, and the ALTs there are in a much better position today than they were in 2005.
If you are tired of the instability of your job, of getting reduced or no pay for March or August, of getting penalized for being sick, then you should force the BoE to take responsibility. Unionize, and demand direct employment and the full benefits that you are entitled to under the law.
April 8, 2010
Cross-posted from the Fukuoka General Union.
Throughout Japan Boards of Education have been moving away from the JET program in favour of outsourcing ALT jobs to dispatch companies. In Fukuoka it has come to the point that most BOEs subcontract out their work.
This page is aimed to shed some light on the current systems that operate to the detriment of ALTs – who are practically all non-Japanese (NJ).
March 9, 2010
Cross-posted from the General Union
After more than six months of union action, Interac and Tokai Board of Education have been found guilty of illegal dispatch by the Aichi Prefectural Labor Board. Watch this space – full story in the coming weeks.
November 12, 2009
If Interac tries to pressure you into signing up for Kokumin Kenko Hoken, don’t do it! Kokumin Kenko Hoken is for people that are self-employed or unemployed. If you sign up for Kokumin Kenko Hoken, you may be forced to back enroll into the system up to the time that you started working in Japan (meaning you will have to pay your monthly dues up to the maximum limit of two years).
Instead, you should enroll into Shakai Hoken, because Interac will be forced to pay their half. If there is any back enrollment it will be covered by the company, not by you. You are all eligible for this. The only reason Interac tells you otherwise is because they don’t want to pay their portion of the money.
You can do this on your own, or you can join the “Interac union” (aka members of the Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union Tozen ALTs) and we can force them to pay up together in solidarity. The Tokyo General Union has a lot of experience in forcing companies to enroll their employees into Shakai Hoken so we can get you enrolled with much less effort on you part.
August 13, 2009
My name is Erich and I am a member of Nambu FWC, a former member and a current friend of the Osaka based General Union. I joined the GU a few years ago to improve the working conditions in the city that I lived and worked, Matsubara, Osaka. We in the GU were able to convince/force/persuade the BOE (Board of Education) of Matsubara to hire their ALTs directly, thus improving the working conditions by orders of magnitude. The GU was able to put pressure on other BOEs where our members chose to fight as well, and they were recently able to liberate the city of Hirakata, improving the working conditions
July 25, 2009
Recently announced changes to immigration guidelines link your visa to enrollment in government approved health insurance. This means kokumin kenko hoken or shakai hoken/shigaku kyosai (Employee’s health & Pension).