Times get tough for teachers

English teaching in Japan is not what it used to be. Conditions are changing; the work is harder to come by, wages are falling, and staff are increasingly taking their employers to court.

“It’s (the ALT industry) getting bigger and bigger, but as it gets bigger there is a race to the bottom in wages,” says [NUGW Tokyo Nambu deputy general secretary Louis] Carlet.

“In the bidding process the schools are desperate to decrease their bid and so of course they squeeze wages and take away all benefits and increase work hours.”

So the teachers, and eventually the students, are the ones that suffer. “More teachers take it because there is nothing else available. The reality is they are terrible jobs, with no job security.”