NOVA over? Teachers strike over unpaid wages, demand president face charges

A labor union representing teachers from scandal-plagued NOVA Corp. went on strike Tuesday demanding the English conversation school chain pay unpaid wages and agree to collective negotiations.

The Nova teachers’ branch of the National Union of General Workers Nambu also joined with other unions from western Japan to ask Labor Standards Supervision Offices in Tokyo and Osaka to pursue a criminal case against NOVA and its president, Nozomu Sahashi.

The unions accuse Sahashi and NOVA of breaking the Labor Standards Law.

NOVA union officials pointed out that the chain has failed to pay some of its English conversation teachers since July and that payment of September’s monthly wages for all its teachers were late. Teachers were supposed to be paid on Monday, but the company did not forward entitled wages, instead sending a letter to instructors saying that it would pay them by Oct. 19.

Some NOVA teachers are living in accommodation the chain arranged for them and normally deducts rent from their wages and pays it on their behalf. However, while the deductions have continued, there have been many instances where NOVA did not pay rent as it was supposed to and landlords are trying to evict teachers, union officials said.