March 13, 2012
It seems that around this time every year, people in the Interac office attempt to save another few yen at the expense of the people that are actually out in the classroom doing all of the actual work. They call teachers into their office and attempt to force them to sign resignation papers.
DON’T let Intearc/Maxceed force you to sign anything that says you agree to non-renewals.
If they plan on non-renewing you, force them to do the honorable thing and actually fire you so that you can claim your unemployment benefits as you look for a new job.
Also, don’t forget that according to Japan’s Labor Standards law, you do have the right to fight your dismissal by an employer. This is a direct quote from the “Foreign Workers’ Handbook” published by the government that can be found here: (more…)
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.
May 3, 2010
This is just more reason to unionize. Stop illegal dispatching and claim higher wages and better benefits. Don’t be taken advantage of by these middlemen and these Boards of Education that want to hire you without paying you what they should and without affording you what is rightfully yours under Japanese law. This “cooling off period” is just a way to get around dispatch law, which clearly states that the dispatched should be directly hired after a clearly defined amount of time. The labor office’s guidelines do not trump the law, and if ALTs in Chiba stand up to this, there is a good chance that they can end this illegal dispatching, claiming more money and more rights for themselves under the law.
KASHIWA, Chiba — Public schools here have been unable to start their native speaker-taught English classes this school year after the city’s board of education was accused of violating labor laws with foreign language teachers.
According to the Kashiwa Municipal Board of Education, it has been instructed by the local labor office to change its labor relationship with foreign assistant language teachers (ALTs) in the city’s elementary and junior high schools after it engaged in illegal employment practices.
December 29, 2009
I am not sure what it is about Interac and pregnancy, but they really don’t seem to be on the same page as the rest of the work force in Japan. The case in point is concerning Michael Collison and I first learned about his case on the website of a Japanese activist named Arudou Debito. Fortunately for Interac, I did not hear of the case until several months after the fact and it seems that Mr Collison has simply chosen to put the matter behind him rather than to pursue legal action. A very brief synopsis here is followed by a link to Arudou Debito’s original post.
1) Mr Collison is an excellent teacher and has the reviews to prove it.
2) Mr Collison’s wife has a miscarriage.
3) Mr Collison has to take some time off of work to deal with funeral arrangements
4) Mr Collison is fired, Interac claims it is for “performance issues and missing work” (the performance claims are disproven by his excellent reviews).
5) Interac attempts to force Mr Collison to sign resignation papers, going so far as to tell him that he could not leave the office until he signed them (this is horribly illegal).
I really wish that Mr Collison had contacted us when this happened because I can garantee you that this kind of thing will NOT happen to any union member. A strong union can prevent this kind of thing from happening to its members, and can right these kinds of labor issues even after they have begun to go sour, all it takes is the initiative to contact us and the willingness to fight. This is not a criticism of Mr Collison, I certainly cannot imagine the pain he and his family have had to deal with, I just wish we would have had the oppurtunity to try and help. Workers in Japan are all garanteed to have time off for bereavement, and it seems that Interac is unaware of this fact.
A link to the original post:
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.
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.
August 31, 2009
Recently in the news, an NihonTerebi (Channel 4 in the Tokyo area) story focused on trials that a lot of ALTs face, focusing on the fact that not only are these creating a less than optimal working enviornment for foreign teachers but also that many of the contracts are Illegal.
The reporters that researched the story surveyed the greater Tokyo/Kanto area to see which Boards of Education (BOEs) were using dispatch contracts that are considered legal, and which BOEs were using illegal contracts. A graphic supplied during the report showed that a large swath of the Tokyo area was highlighted in red, the color used to indicate a BOE that is currently using an illegal contract.
Continue reading to see the videos:
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).