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…
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.
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 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.
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 20, 2009
An article from July that concerns every foreigner working in Japan.
Are you enrolled in Shakai Hoken or did Interac tell you you weren’t eligible? Are you going to have to pay up to two years of back pay into the system next year because Interac/Maxceed did not register you into the system when you started working for them?
Let’s hope not.
By JENNY UECHI
Enrollment in Japan’s health insurance program tied to visa renewal from 2010
By JENNY UECHI
In your wallet or somewhere at home, do you have a blue or pink card showing that you are enrolled in one of Japan’s national health and pension programs? If not, and if you are thinking of extending your stay here, you may want to think about a recent revision to visa requirements for foreign residents. The changes, which the Justice Ministry says were made in order to “smooth out the administrative process,” may have major consequences for foreign residents and their future in Japan.