Our campaign to improve working conditions at Interac is important not just for ALTs , but for students and Japan’s education system. In addition, this has now become a campaign to defend our right to strike at Interac.
On November 4, 2021, Interac Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) in Kanagawa, Saitama, and Hokkaido struck for workplace safety and fair wages. Tozen members from Interac and other workplaces demonstrated in front of Interac Kanto South HQ in Yokohama.
“We work in high-risk environments during a global pandemic,” said one member. “Interac doesn’t seem to care about us.”
Tozen Union members demanded collective bargaining in November 2019, holding thirty-three sessions since. Initially, some progress was made, but Interac will not agree to provide masks to their ALTs. Despite healthy profits, Interac refuses to make a single concession on wages.
“We implore members of the schools – principals, teachers, parents, and boards of education to speak up and support our strike!”
SNA (Tokyo) — On July 1, the US State Department cited Attorney Shoichi Ibuski as one of seven heroes in its 2021 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report for his long years of work fighting for the rights of foreign workers caught up in Japan’s technical intern program.
The TIP report explained how domestic and overseas brokers continue to abuse this system, ostensibly to provide technical training to those from poorer countries, to exploit foreign workers. It went on to condemn the Japanese government for lacking the political will to investigate the system’s victims and provided them real protection.
SNA (Tokyo) — During a May 30 demonstration in front of central Tokyo’s JR Takadanobaba Station, my labor union, Tozen Union, called upon the Japanese government to overhaul its immigration system and to protect the human rights of foreigners.
We persisted despite a heavy downpour, joined by the two younger sisters of Wishma Sandamali, a 33-year-old Sri Lankan woman who died after medical neglect in a Nagoya immigration detention center.
Wayomi Rathnayake called on the Immigration Bureau to release all video, documents, and information related to her sister’s death. Japan’s immigration bureaucracy has a history of opacity and arbitrary treatment of foreigners. We demanded that the government guarantee foreigners’ right to life, regardless of visa status. We must not accept valuing some lives less than others, due to flukes of fate that determine citizenship and residence status.