Bread & Roses: Tragedy and Prison for a Pregnant Foreign Intern

In August 2018 at the age of 19, Le Thi Thuy Linh arrived in Japan to work as a jisshusei intern. Each day, she handled agricultural wastewater at a tangerine orchard in Kumamoto Prefecture. Japan’s rapidly ageing population has created a dearth of agricultural workers, forcing farmers to turn to young foreign interns like Linh to maintain their farms.

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東ゼン大学 – 産休とマタハラ Tozen Daigaku: Maternity Leave and Harassment

弁護士加藤佳子東ゼン労組執行委員長奥貫妃文は産後産前休暇とマタハラパタハラを講義する。

Attorney Kato Keiko and Tozen President Hifumi Okunuki teach us about the law and legal cases around maternity leave, and maternity and paternity harassment.

Bread & Roses: Remote Jobs Upend Work-Life Balance

SNA (Tokyo) — Remote work is no longer a remote concept. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen telework, work-from-home, and workations soar in the popular imagination, and indeed become a reality in many lives. The very meaning of work is undergoing a tectonic transformation before our eyes. So let’s look at telework’s oft-missed underbelly.

Top of any list of terrible Japanese work customs must come long work hours and unpaid overtime.

Below those come mad morning and evening rush hours with train cars packed up to 200% capacity with straphanging workers–sushi-zume (“sushi in a bento box”) or, as anglophones say, “packed like sardines.” The brutality of commutes in urban Japan have inspired commentators to commonly make a pun on the word tsukin (commuting) by replacing it with the phonetically identical, but spelled in kanji differently word tsukin (pain). Most of us have come to resign ourselves to the reality that rush-hour nightmares will never end, and we just have to suck it up.

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東ゼン一日行動ビデオ Tozen All Day Protest Videos

東ゼン一日行動(上)
神田にあるシェーン英会話本社前で抗議行動を始めした。
The first part of Tozen’s All Day Protest.
Starting with the Shane Worker’s Union protesting at Shane English School Head Office in Kanda, Tokyo.

東ゼン一日行動(中)
神田にある神田外語大学院前で抗議行動を始めした。

The second part of Tozen’s All Day Protest.
Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS) Union protesting at Kanda University of International Studies in Kanda, Tokyo.

東ゼン一日行動(下)
銀座にあるインタラック本社前で抗議行動を始めした。

The third part of Tozen’s All Day Protest,
Interac Union protesting at Interac HQ in Ginza

Bread & Roses: Pandemic Drives Women into “Nighttime Work”

On November 16, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced the disciplinary dismissal of a 28-year-old school nurse for moonlighting as a sex worker for more than a year. 

Tokyo officials interrogated her after receiving an anonymous tip about her after-hours work. The primary and middle school nurse said she wanted to save enough money to live on her own in the city. The officials used the word menshoku (removal/dismissal from office) rather than kaiko (dismissal from employment) since she was a local government civil servant. 

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東ゼン大学:財務諸表の読み方 Tozen Daigaku: Reading corporate earnings reports

敵を知る

会社は、組合に対して、組合の要求に応じられない理由として経営が大変などを主張します。しかし、組合側は、提示されている財務のデータが本当に分かっているのでしょうか。ここで、財務諸表の読み方についての東ゼン大学のレクチャーの登板です。講師らは財務諸表を楽しみながら読む方法について話し合います。 講師は東ゼン労組の財政部長ルイス・カーレットと専従オルグのジェローム・ロスマンです。

***注意:講師らは、資格を有する会計士ではありません。***

Know your enemy

This is an important topic as companies often try to make claims about their earnings as to why they can’t agree to union demands. Find out what the numbers really mean here. Tune in as our presenters try to make finances fun (or as fun as they can be).

Presented by Louis Carlet, and Gerome Rothman.

***Disclaimer: Neither Louis Carlet or Gerome Rothman are accountants.***

 

Tozen Union hits streets in record numbers to push for better conditions at Shane, Kanda Gaigo, Interac

Tozen’s historic Ichinichi Kodo All-Day Action fights for job security, higher wages; breaks through factionalism

Dec. 21, 2021. Under the crisp blue skies of Winter Solstice, Tozen Union held its first ever Ichinichi Kodo All-Day Action.

 Teachers at three local chapters of Tozen Union raised their fists and voices in front of each employer, demanding job security, Shakai Hoken health and pension, and a living wage.

 In addition to Tozen’s long-allied independent unions, all three national labor federations (Rengo, Zenroren, and Zenrokyo) joined the action, warming our hearts on this first day of winter.

 Rengo Tokyo provided the sound car for the day.

 Joining Tozen for the fight were: Japan Labour Soviet (Rohyo), General Support Union (GSU, affiliated with NPO Posse), Shutoken Union of University Part-Time Lecturers in Tokyo Area and the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Tobu (Tobu Roso).

 This day in Tozen history represented a pushback against the chronic factionalism of Japan’s labor movement. The faction-transcending unity made us forget the cold and gave management a peek at the kind of solidarity arrayed against them.

 More than 50 Tozen and allied members squeezed into a tight, thin line on a sliver of sidewalk in front of the Shane HQ office. In a large voice, we demanded the English conversation school give us job security and Shakai Hoken.

 Our displeasure at relentless management attacks against workers and the union during this protracted labor dispute burst forth over the speakers of our sound truck. A contingent of Shane members went into the HQ office to submit a written appeal. A manager took it, then flippantly remarked ‘Merry Christmas.’ Our Shane local won’t rest until they win stable working conditions.

 The throng walked a block away to Kanda University of Foreign Studies (KUIS). We demanded the school remove its unilateral and arbitrary 6-year limit on employment and agree to open-ended employment for teachers. These educating every day show pride and passion in inspiring the minds of their students.

 These teachers want to continue to teach beyond the six years, but the university administration asserts that after six years they are no longer capable of creating anything new. Kaiten (rotation) is necessary to keep the education development fresh, management insists. Members angrily shouted that “KUIS teachers are not dried out conveyor belt sushi!”

 The crowd traveled by subway to Ginza, to the headquarters of ALT-dispatcher Interac. We protested the company’s refusal to provide a living way or enroll ALTs in Shakai Hoken. A contingent separated, entered the high-rise office building, and rode the lift to Interac headquarters. There, they tried to hand over a written appeal. Management made them wait for over 20 minutes. The delegation decided to send it later by post; they returned to the lively protest down on street level to give a report to their comrades.

 One university student from GSU recounted how an ALT (assistant language teacher) had helped her learn ‘living English.’ She called on the company to recognize a living wage and said that ALTs are not ‘assistants.’

 We finished with a sprechchor, bringing life to the soul of workers, who know no faction, under the Ginza winter sky in the middle of the big city

 The labor unions and individuals who joined us in solidarity made this historic day possible.

東ゼン労組、労働条件向上を求めシェーン、神田外語大、インタラック前で過去最大規模の抗議

2021/12/21 東ゼン労組1日行動:安心して生活できる労働条件をかけた闘い!

2021年12月21日、冬至の晴れ渡った空の下、東ゼン労組史上初の一日行動をおこなった。

 東ゼン労組の3支部―シェーン英会話、神田外語大学、インタラックで働く教員たちは、各職場の前で、安定した雇用、生活できるだけの賃金の確保、社会保険加入を求め、こぶしを挙げて声を上げた。

 この1日行動には、長きにわたり連帯関係を結んでいる無所属独立系の労組のほか、3つのナショナルセンター(連合、全労連、全労協)に所属する労働組合も揃って参加してくださり、非常に温かくかつ心強い応援をいただいた。

 連合東京、日本労働評議会(労評)、全国一般東京東部労働組合(東部労組)、総合サポートユニオン、首都圏大学非常勤講師組合、それぞれの組合が党派を超えた同じ労働者として、共に怒りの拳を突き上げ、生活できる労働条件を求めて声を上げてくれた。その姿に、冬の寒さを忘れるほど胸が熱くなった。経営者に労働者の団結の力を余すところなく見せつけることができた1日行動となった。

 まずは、英会話学校のシェーン本社前で、50人超が狭い歩道に一列に並び、雇用の安定、社会保険加入、労使紛争の解決を求め声を上げた。経営側の組合員に対する攻撃が後を絶たず、紛争が未解決のまま長期化していることへの不満が噴出した。申入れ団が申入書を手渡しに行ったところ、経営者は「メリークリスマス」と軽く言い放ったということである。それでもシェーン支部は決してあきらめない。安心して働くことができる労働条件を求め続けていく。

 次は、シェーン英会話から100メートル離れたところにある神田外語大学に場所を移した。日々学生の教育のために誇りと情熱をもって仕事に打ち込んでいる教員たちに対して、大学側は無期雇用への転換を認めず、6年間でさようなら、と一方的に雇用を断ち切ろうとしている。教員はみんな、もっともっと働きたいと切望している。そんな教員たちに対して大学側は「6年も働いている教員に新しい教授方法を開発することはできない」と言い捨て、より“新鮮な”教員を採用するのだと言ってはばからない。「私たちは回転すしの干からびた寿司でではない!」と怒りの声を上げた。

 その後、場所を銀座に移し、外国語指導助手(ALT)を派遣する大手であるインタラック前で、生活ができる賃金と社会保険加入を求め声を上げた。申入団は、立派な高層ビルの本社事務所に上がり、申入書を渡そうと試みた。しかし経営側20分以上待たせたうえに、申入書を受け取る勇気がない様子であったため、申入団は仲間が声を上げる社前に戻り、再びアピールを続けた。

 総合サポートユニオンの大学生は、自分の高校時代の英語の先生(ALT)について、「ALTの先生は“助手”ではないと思います。私は、ALTの先生がいたからこそ、生きた英語を学ぶことができました」と語り、ALTの待遇改善に向けて力強いアピールを寄せてくれた。

 最後に、全員でシュプレヒコールをおこない、大都会の銀座の冬空に、党派を超えた労働者の魂の叫びが響き渡った。

 さいごに、今回の東ゼン労組の1日行動に連帯し、参加いただいたすべての労働組合、個人の方々に、心から感謝したい。