Labor unions seek indictment of Nova over delayed wage payment

A labor union representing teachers at scandal-hit English-language school operator Nova Corp. submitted a petition Tuesday to the Osaka labor standards authority, asking it to seek an indictment of the company and its president Nozomu Sahashi on charges of a breach of labor standards laws.

The General Union [Tokyo Nambu’s sister union] asked the Osaka Central Labor Standards Supervision Office, an arm of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, to have public prosecutors build a criminal case against the company and Sahashi over a delay in payment of wages to its foreign instructors.

According to the union, wage payments for Nova’s some 4,000 foreign instructors are usually made in the middle of the month. But they were delayed in September, and the company has notified the instructors that payments for October will also be delayed until Friday.

In late September, the union filed a request with labor authorities asking that Osaka-based Nova be ordered to pay the wages. The authorities have since recommended on a number of occasions that the company improve its practices related to labor standards.

Article 24 of the Labor Standards Law stipulates that companies must pay wages to employees at least once a month, on a fixed date.

Nova, an industry leader, has been hit with decreasing student enrollment and numerous canceled contracts since the government ordered the school in June to suspend part of its operations for lying to consumers in advertisements about its services.

The resulting financial plight apparently is making it increasingly difficult for the company to meet its workers’ wage claims.